Antwerpen, Belgium
Antwerpen, Belgium

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Janku F.,University of Houston | Claes B.,Biocartis | Huang H.J.,University of Houston | Falchook G.S.,University of Houston | And 26 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Fast and accurate diagnostic systems are needed for further implementation of precision therapy of BRAF-mutant and other cancers. The novel IdyllaTM BRAF Mutation Test has high sensitivity and shorter turnaround times compared to other methods. We used Idylla to detect BRAF V600 mutations in archived formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumor samples and compared these results with those obtained using the cobas 4800 BRAF V600 Mutation Test or MiSeq deep sequencing system and with those obtained by a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified laboratory employing polymerase chain reaction-based sequencing, mass spectrometric detection, or next-generation sequencing. In one set of 60 FFPE tumor samples (15 with BRAF mutations per Idylla), the Idylla and cobas results had an agreement of 97%. Idylla detected BRAF V600 mutations in two additional samples. The Idylla and MiSeq results had 100% concordance. In a separate set of 100 FFPE tumor samples (64 with BRAF mutation per Idylla), the Idylla and CLIAcertified laboratory results demonstrated an agreement of 96% even though the tests were not performed simultaneously and different FFPE blocks had to be used for 9 cases. The IdyllaTM BRAF Mutation Test produced results quickly (sample to results time was about 90 minutes with about 2 minutes of hands on time) and the closed nature of the cartridge eliminates the risk of PCR contamination. In conclusion, our observations demonstrate that the Idylla test is rapid and has high concordance with other routinely used but more complex BRAF mutation-detecting tests.


Verbist B.M.P.,Janssen RandD | Verheyen G.R.,Janssen RandD | Verheyen G.R.,Radius Inc. | Vervoort L.,Janssen RandD | And 12 more authors.
Chemical Research in Toxicology | Year: 2015

During drug discovery and development, the early identification of adverse effects is expected to reduce costly late-stage failures of candidate drugs. As risk/safety assessment takes place rather late during the development process and due to the limited ability of animal models to predict the human situation, modern unbiased high-dimensional biology readouts are sought, such as molecular signatures predictive for in vivo response using high-throughput cell-based assays. In this theoretical proof of concept, we provide findings of an in-depth exploration of a single chemical core structure. Via transcriptional profiling, we identified a subset of close analogues that commonly downregulate multiple tubulin genes across cellular contexts, suggesting possible spindle poison effects. Confirmation via a qualified toxicity assay (in vitro micronucleus test) and the identification of a characteristic aggregate-formation phenotype via exploratory high-content imaging validated the initial findings. SAR analysis triggered the synthesis of a new set of compounds and allowed us to extend the series showing the genotoxic effect. We demonstrate the potential to flag toxicity issues by utilizing data from exploratory experiments that are typically generated for target evaluation purposes during early drug discovery. We share our thoughts on how this approach may be incorporated into drug development strategies. © 2015 American Chemical Society.


PubMed | University of Houston, Biocartis and HistoGeneX NV
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Fast and accurate diagnostic systems are needed for further implementation of precision therapy of BRAF-mutant and other cancers. The novel IdyllaTMBRAF Mutation Test has high sensitivity and shorter turnaround times compared to other methods. We used Idylla to detect BRAF V600 mutations in archived formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumor samples and compared these results with those obtained using the cobas 4800 BRAF V600 Mutation Test or MiSeq deep sequencing system and with those obtained by a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified laboratory employing polymerase chain reaction-based sequencing, mass spectrometric detection, or next-generation sequencing. In one set of 60 FFPE tumor samples (15 with BRAF mutations per Idylla), the Idylla and cobas results had an agreement of 97%. Idylla detected BRAF V600 mutations in two additional samples. The Idylla and MiSeq results had 100% concordance. In a separate set of 100 FFPE tumor samples (64 with BRAF mutation per Idylla), the Idylla and CLIA-certified laboratory results demonstrated an agreement of 96% even though the tests were not performed simultaneously and different FFPE blocks had to be used for 9 cases. The IdyllaTMBRAF Mutation Test produced results quickly (sample to results time was about 90 minutes with about 2 minutes of hands on time) and the closed nature of the cartridge eliminates the risk of PCR contamination. In conclusion, our observations demonstrate that the Idylla test is rapid and has high concordance with other routinely used but more complex BRAF mutation-detecting tests.


Van Acker N.,University of Antwerp | Van Acker N.,HistoGeneX NV | Rage M.,Catholic University of Louvain | Vermeirsch H.,HistoGeneX NV | And 12 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

The in vivo cutaneous nerve regeneration model using capsaicin is applied extensively to study the regenerative mechanisms and therapeutic efficacy of disease modifying molecules for small fiber neuropathy (SFN). Since mismatches between functional and morphological nerve fiber recovery are described for this model, we aimed at determining the capability of the capsaicin model to truly mimic the morphological manifestations of SFN in diabetes. As nerve and blood vessel growth and regenerative capacities are defective in diabetes, we focused on studying the key regulator of these processes, the neuropilin-1 (NRP-1)/semaphorin pathway. This led us to the evaluation of NRP-1 receptor expression in epidermis and dermis of subjects presenting experimentally induced small fiber neuropathy, diabetic polyneuropathy and of diabetic subjects without clinical signs of small fiber neuropathy. The NRP-1 receptor was co-stained with CD31 vessel-marker using immunofluorescence and analyzed with Definiens1 technology. This study indicates that capsaicin application results in significant loss of epidermal NRP-1 receptor expression, whereas diabetic subjects presenting small fiber neuropathy show full epidermal NRP-1 expression in contrast to the basal expression pattern seen in healthy controls. Capsaicin induced a decrease in dermal non-vascular NRP-1 receptor expression which did not appear in diabetic polyneuropathy. We can conclude that the capsaicin model does not mimic diabetic neuropathy related changes for cutaneous NRP-1 receptor expression. In addition, our data suggest that NRP-1 might play an important role in epidermal nerve fiber loss and/or defective regeneration and that NRP-1 receptor could change the epidermal environment to a nerve fiber repellant bed possibly through Sem3A in diabetes. © 2016 Van Acker et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


PubMed | Janssen Pharmaceutical, Catholic University of Louvain, Hammersmith Hospital, HistoGeneX NV and University of Antwerp
Type: | Journal: BMC research notes | Year: 2016

In this study we explored the possibility of automating the PGP9.5 immunofluorescence staining assay for the diagnosis of small fiber neuropathy using skin punch biopsies. The laboratory developed test (LDT) was subjected to a validation strategy as required by good laboratory practice guidelines and compared to the well-established gold standard method approved by the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS). To facilitate automation, the use of thinner sections.(16m) was evaluated. Biopsies from previously published studies were used. The aim was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the LDT compared to the gold standard. We focused on technical aspects to reach high-quality standardization of the PGP9.5 assay and finally evaluate its potential for use in large scale batch testing.We first studied linear nerve fiber densities in skin of healthy volunteers to establish reference ranges, and compared our LDT using the modifications to the EFNS counting rule to the gold standard in visualizing and quantifying the epidermal nerve fiber network. As the LDT requires the use of 16m tissue sections, a higher incidence of intra-epidermal nerve fiber fragments and a lower incidence of secondary branches were detected. Nevertheless, the LDT showed excellent concordance with the gold standard method. Next, the diagnostic performance and yield of the LDT were explored and challenged to the gold standard using skin punch biopsies of capsaicin treated subjects, and patients with diabetic polyneuropathy. The LDT reached good agreement with the gold standard in identifying small fiber neuropathy. The reduction of section thickness from 50 to 16m resulted in a significantly lower visualization of the three-dimensional epidermal nerve fiber network, as expected. However, the diagnostic performance of the LDT was adequate as characterized by a sensitivity and specificity of 80 and 64%, respectively.This study, designed as a proof of principle, indicated that the LDT is an accurate, robust and automated assay, which adequately and reliably identifies patients presenting with small fiber neuropathy, and therefore has potential for use in large scale clinical studies.


Marien K.M.,University of Antwerp | Marien K.M.,HistoGeneX NV | Croons V.,HistoGeneX NV | Waumans Y.,HistoGeneX NV | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Despite all efforts made to develop predictive biomarkers forantiangiogenic therapies, no unambiguous markers have been identified so far. This is due to among others the lack of standardized tests. This study presents an improved microvessel density quantification method in tumor tissue based on stereological principles and using whole-slide images. Vessels in tissue sections of different cancer types were stained for CD31 by an automated and validated immunohistochemical staining method. The stained slides were digitized with a digital slide scanner. Systematic, uniform, random sampling of the regions of interest on the whole-slide images was performed semi-automatically with the previously published applications AutoTag and AutoSnap. Subsequently, an unbiased counting grid was combined with the images generated with these scripts. Up to six independent observers counted microvessels in up to four cancer types: colorectal carcinoma, glioblastoma multiforme, ovarian carcinoma and renal cell carcinoma. At first, inter-observer variability was found to be unacceptable. However, after a series of consensus training sessions and interim statistical analysis, counting rules were modified and inter-observer concordance improved considerably. Every CD31 -positive object was counted, with exclusion of suspected CD31-positive monocytes, macrophages and tumor cells. Furthermore, if interconnected, stained objects were considered a single vessel. Ten regions of interest were sufficient for accurate microvessel density measurements. Intra-observer and interobserver variability were low (intraclass correlation coefficient > 0.7) if the observers were adequately trained. © 2016 Marien et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Marien K.M.,University of Antwerp | Marien K.M.,HistoGeneX NV | Croons V.,HistoGeneX NV | Martinet W.,University of Antwerp | And 6 more authors.
Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics | Year: 2015

Bevacizumab is the first anti-angiogenic agent approved for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. The need for patient selection before initiating therapy necessitates the study of various proteins expressed in metastatic colorectal cancer tissue as candidate predictive markers. Immunohistochemistry is a valuable, commonly available and cost-effective method to assess predictive biomarkers. However, it is subject to variations and therefore requires rigorous protocol standardizations. Furthermore, validated quantification methodologies to study these angiogenic elements have to be applied. Based on their function in tumor angiogenesis and their relation to the mechanism of action of bevacizumab, protein markers were divided in four groups: VEGF A-signaling proteins; other relevant angiogenesis factors; factors regarding the tumor microenvironment and tumor intrinsic markers. Conceivably, nimbly selecting a small but relevant group of therapy-guided patients by the appropriate combination of predictive biomarkers may confer great value to this angiogenic inhibitor. © 2015 Informa UK, Ltd.


Marien K.M.,University of Antwerp | Marien K.M.,HistoGeneX NV | Andries L.,HistoGeneX NV | De Schepper S.,HistoGeneX NV | And 2 more authors.
MethodsX | Year: 2015

Tumor angiogenesis is measured by counting microvessels in tissue sections at high power magnification as a potential prognostic or predictive biomarker. Until now, regions of interest1 (ROIs) were selected by manual operations within a tumor by using a systematic uniform random sampling2 (SURS) approach. Although SURS is the most reliable sampling method, it implies a high workload. However, SURS can be semi-automated and in this way contribute to the development of a validated quantification method for microvessel counting in the clinical setting. Here, we report a method to use semi-automated SURS for microvessel counting: Whole slide imaging with Pannoramic SCAN (3DHISTECH)Computer-assisted sampling in Pannoramic Viewer (3DHISTECH) extended by two self-written AutoHotkey applications (AutoTag and AutoSnap)The use of digital grids in Photoshop® and Bridge® (Adobe Systems) This rapid procedure allows traceability essential for high throughput protein analysis of immunohistochemically stained tissue. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.


Denis C.J.,University of Antwerp | Van Acker N.,HistoGeneX nv | De Schepper S.,HistoGeneX nv | De Bie M.,HistoGeneX nv | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry | Year: 2013

Although the kidney generally has been regarded as an excellent source of carboxypeptidase M (CPM), little is known about its renal-specific expression level and distribution. This study provides a detailed localization of CPM in healthy and diseased human kidneys. The results indicate a broad distribution of CPM along the renal tubular structures in the healthy kidney. CPM was identified at the parietal epithelium beneath the Bowman's basement membrane and in glomerular mesangial cells. Capillaries, podocytes, and most interstitial cells were CPM negative. Tumor cells of renal cell carcinoma subtypes lose CPM expression upon dedifferentiation. Tissue microarray analysis demonstrated a correlation between low CPM expression and tumor cell type. CPM staining was intense on phagocytotic tumor-associated macrophages. Immunoreactive CPM was also detected in the tumor-associated vasculature. The absence of CPM in normal renal blood vessels points toward a role for CPM in angiogenesis. Coexistence of CPM and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was detected in papillary renal cell carcinoma. However, the different subcellular localization of CPM and EGFR argues against an interaction between these h proteins. The description of the distribution of CPM in human kidney forms the foundation for further study of the (patho)physiological activities of CPM in the kidney. © The Author(s) 2012.


PubMed | University Hospital Brussels Brussel, HistoGeneX NV and University of Antwerp
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

Despite all efforts made to develop predictive biomarkers for antiangiogenic therapies, no unambiguous markers have been identified so far. This is due to among others the lack of standardized tests. This study presents an improved microvessel density quantification method in tumor tissue based on stereological principles and using whole-slide images. Vessels in tissue sections of different cancer types were stained for CD31 by an automated and validated immunohistochemical staining method. The stained slides were digitized with a digital slide scanner. Systematic, uniform, random sampling of the regions of interest on the whole-slide images was performed semi-automatically with the previously published applications AutoTag and AutoSnap. Subsequently, an unbiased counting grid was combined with the images generated with these scripts. Up to six independent observers counted microvessels in up to four cancer types: colorectal carcinoma, glioblastoma multiforme, ovarian carcinoma and renal cell carcinoma. At first, inter-observer variability was found to be unacceptable. However, after a series of consensus training sessions and interim statistical analysis, counting rules were modified and inter-observer concordance improved considerably. Every CD31-positive object was counted, with exclusion of suspected CD31-positive monocytes, macrophages and tumor cells. Furthermore, if interconnected, stained objects were considered a single vessel. Ten regions of interest were sufficient for accurate microvessel density measurements. Intra-observer and inter-observer variability were low (intraclass correlation coefficient > 0.7) if the observers were adequately trained.

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