Mason Scientists Launch New Company to Improve Cancer Treatment

Posted: March 28, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Mason proteomics researchers Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin announced on Tuesday that they have formed a new company — Theranostics Health LLC — that will use their breakthrough technology to provide critical new services to medical professionals on the frontline of the war on cancer.

Unlike any other existing approach, the new company’s unique, proprietary technology developed at Mason will measure the activity of the actual protein drug targets in a patient’s biopsy.

Current technologies can provide information as to whether a disease is present, but they cannot provide a portrait of the ongoing activity of the protein drug targets in a patient biopsy.

“Instead of using the current ‘trial and error’ or ‘one-size-fits-all’ methods to prescribe chemotherapy, our platform provides the missing piece for personalized medicine that will enable physicians to deliver the right drug to the right patient at the right time,” says Joseph Reilly, Theranostics Health president and CEO.

Through their ongoing research, Liotta and Petricoin, co-directors of Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, are enabling physicians to provide more effective, individualized treatment to cancer patients through discoveries conceived at Mason.

Using proteomics, the study of protein activity in cells, the scientists believe their research holds the promise of a new paradigm for personalized medical treatment.

“Through our research at George Mason University, our goal has always been to provide the missing element to support the promise of personalized medicine,” says Liotta. “Dr. Petricoin and I believe that Theranostics Health brings us one step closer to that goal.”

Petricoin explains that currently, most FDA-cleared or -approved drugs target protein function. “There is a critical unmet need to measure the activity of the actual drug targets to specifically tailor therapies. As a new class of cancer diagnostic services, Theranostics Health’s assay [test for analysis] represents a dramatic improvement in the information from which the physician can tailor therapy and meet that critical unmet need.”

Currently, the company is negotiating collaborative agreements with several pharmaceutical companies to identify drug targets and assess anti-cancer drugs during preclinical and clinical trials.

Starting in 2008, Theranostics will begin to work with physicians and hospitals to apply its technology to patient care. The company will provide physicians with a clear and accurate analysis of which protein drug target pathways are specifically altered and activated in a given tissue specimen.

The company will initially focus on cancer-related assays and later broaden its analytical scope to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disorders and infectious diseases, among others, the scientists say.

For more information, see

Write to at