Molecular Oncology and Companion Testing Services

CirQuest provides the latest techniques in oncology research and development and extensive companion testing in the clinical oncology field.

Companion biomarker testing aids stratified medicines in the advancement of patient care. Testing sheds light on normal biologic and pathologic processes as well as the pharmacologic response to a particular drug therapy. The use of companion testing has the potential to yield safer and more efficacious drugs, as well as reduce clinical trial scale and overall development costs. This technology enables substantial headway to be made in “Go/No Go” decision making. CirQuest Oncology brings a broad services portfolio of scientific and laboratory expertise to research and development on behalf of our clients.

Biomarker studies

Soluble biomarkers (e.g., cytokines, chemokines, MMPs, microparticles) through single and multiple array technologies
  • Using the latest Qiagen® RT-PCR and ELISA arrays we can evaluate the impact of disease or drug treatments on various biological pathways. Using RT-PCR for cancer detection may help improve prognosis, as well as monitor response to therapy, as circulating tumor cells produce unique mRNA transcripts depending on the type of cancer. An important goal is to determine which mRNA transcripts serve as the best biomarkers for a particular cancer cell type, and then analyze its expression levels using RT-PCR. qRT-PCR is considered to be the most powerful, sensitive, and quantitative assay for the detection of RNA levels and is used in the expression analysis of single or multiple genes, and to obtain expression patterns for identifying diseases. Multiple array technology can determine drug effects on targeted biomarkers as well as on their overall contribution to converging cell signaling pathways. These technologies have multiple applications in drug development research. Soluble biomarkers continue to play a significant role in monitoring drug effects, and in providing a companion testing strategy that can be utilized throughout the life cycle of the drug as predictive, prognostic, and diagnostic indicators.
Complete histopathology analysis (tissue biomarkers)

From standard H&E staining in single sections to novel biomarker characterization using multiple fluorescent probes, our services in tissue processing and staining allow for reliable assessment of biomarkers in a wide variety of tissue specimens.

Genotyping technologies

Genetic variation and mutation analysis

Either for examining polymorphisms of a single gene of interest or to identify driver mutations in study population, our technical expertise will aid in understanding the contribution of genetic background to underlying pathology, or in assessing variability of drug response.

Genome-wide microarrays

Partnering with Affymetrix® service providers, we are now able to offer comprehensive genome-wide microarray analysis to evaluate the complete genomic expression using the latest high through-put technologies. The assays will allow us to determine variations in copy numbers due to regulation of gene expression and to determine alternative splice variants of a gene of interest.

Next generation sequencing

Based on revolutionary Ion AmpliSeq® technology we can assess hundreds of coding regions from a wide variety of genes simultaneously. The panel of genes to be sequenced can be customized to your studies, allowing a focused approach towards targeted drug research and development. This technology requires very little nucleic acid material; as a result, paraffin embedded archived tissue can be a source for sequencing studies.

Epigenetic Study Support (methylated DNA and microRNAs arrays)

In the rapidly evolving field of personalized medicine, we are on the forefront with the latest technology in epigenetics. Our technical expertise allows for determination of DNA methylation and microRNA expression that can be utilized as part of pharmacogenomic analyses in clinical trials.

Cell-based functional assays

Flow cytometry for antigen detection, absolute cell counts, cell signaling, DNA analysis, and immunophenotyping

Our wide range of flow cytometry services will provide an efficient and reliable approach for surface antigen detection, determining activation states of cells, assessment of cell viability, enumeration of cell counts, quantification of intracellular signaling, analysis of cell cycle and apoptotic mechanisms, and immunophenotyping of tumor cells to determine disease progression or response to therapy.

Cell Migration and Invasion Assays and 3D Tissue Culture Expertise

Cell migration and invasion assays are critical for understanding the mechanisms of inflammatory cell response to chemo attractants, and phenomenon underlying tumor cell metastasis. Our services in this area extend from conventional two-dimensional cell based adhesion, chemotaxis, and haptotaxis assays, to more sophisticated three-dimensional (3D) culture-based methods. Matrigel® provides a matrix which allows studies to be carried out in a more physiologically relevant 3D environment, and may prove useful for early evaluation of pharmaceutical agents in proof-of-concept studies.

Tumor cell interactions with platelets and blood cells (static and microfluidic assays)

Within the vasculature, tumor cells interact with endothelium and circulating blood cells. Tumor cell interactions with platelets and other inflammatory cells not only prime tumor cells for metastasis, but also induce a procoagulant state that culminates in thrombosis. Using specific tumor cell markers and platelet surface markers, we can now evaluate potential interactions of tumor cells with circulating platelets. The effects of such interaction on platelet function can be further evaluated using tumor cell-induced platelet aggregation (TCIPA) studies.

By partnering with CirQuest for your molecular oncology services, we will help you make the best in-house decisions according to your timelines. Building upon your company’s discovery efforts and goals, our scientists will provide unrivaled basic, translational and clinical science expertise.

Selected recent peer-reviewed publications and abstracts by members of our team: