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Einstein-Montefiore Scientists Awarded NCI Grants to Study "Provocative Questions" in Cancer Research

Thursday, September 20, 2012 12:09 PM


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MONTCLAIR, NJ -- (Marketwire) -- 09/20/12 -- MetaStat, Inc. (OTCBB: MTST), a life science company focused on the development and commercialization of proprietary clinical diagnostic and prognostic tests that predict the probability of systemic hematogenous (blood borne) cancer metastasis, as well as companion therapeutics to prevent this deadly spread, today announced a National Cancer Institute research grant for the Company's technology licensed from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Research teams at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, have each been awarded an NIH grant aimed at addressing neglected or unexplored areas of cancer research. The grant, one of only 57 given nationwide and five in New York City, total more than $1.4 million over the next four years. The grant is from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, under their "Provocative Questions" program.

Grant recipients include John Condeelis, Ph.D., Sumanta Goswami, Ph.D., and Maja Oktay, M.D., Ph.D.

The team of grant recipients, consisting of Drs. Condeelis, Goswami and Oktay, will focus on developing new approaches to investigating the biology of metastasis -- the usually fatal spread of the primary cancer to other parts of the body. Using human breast cancer cells obtained from tumors of patients treated at Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care, the scientists will focus on intravasation -- the crucial step in which tumor cells invade blood vessels and are then carried to distant sites where they become seeded in new tissues.

The researchers have hypothesized that different breast tumors contain varying proportions of cells capable of invading blood vessels and that these "intravasation-competent" cancer cells have distinct gene expression profiles. The proportion of such tumor cells and the genes they express would determine whether a breast tumor metastasizes or not.

The goal of the research is to develop a human intravasation "signature" that will predict whether a breast cancer tumor is destined to metastasize. Identifying this signature will help to reveal targets for anti-metastatic therapies. Such therapies are urgently needed to decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with breast cancer.

Dr. Condeelis is professor and co-chair of anatomy and structural biology, co-director of the Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center, leader of the program in tumor microenvironment and metastasis in the Albert Einstein Cancer Center, and holder of the Judith and Burton P. Resnick Chair in Translational Research at Einstein. Dr. Goswami is assistant professor of anatomy and structural biology at Einstein and associate professor of biology at Yeshiva University. Dr. Oktay is associate professor of pathology (clinical) at Einstein and attending physician, pathology at Montefiore.

The metastasis grant (CA170507) totals $1.4 million over 4 years. The preliminary data that made the metastasis grant possible were obtained from a gift from the Dempsey Family to the Albert Einstein Cancer Center that was awarded to Dr. Oktay in the fall of 2011.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. In 2011, Einstein received nearly $170 million in awards from the NIH for major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS, as well as other areas. Through its affiliation with Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, and six other hospital systems, the College of Medicine runs one of the largest post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering 155 residency programs to more than 2,200 physicians in training. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu and follow us on Twitter @EinsteinMed.

Montefiore Medical Center
As the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore is a premier academic medical center nationally renowned for its clinical excellence, scientific discovery and commitment to its community. Montefiore is consistently recognized among the top hospitals nationally by U.S. News & World Report, and excels at educating tomorrow's healthcare professionals in superior clinical and humanistic care. Linked by advanced technology, Montefiore is a comprehensive and integrated health system that derives its inspiration for excellence from its patients and community. For more information, please visit www.montefiore.org and www.montekids.org and follow us on Twitter @MontefioreNews.

About MetaStat, Inc.
MetaStat was formed to allow cancer patients to benefit from the latest discoveries in how cancer spreads to other organs in the body. Our mission is to become an industry leader in the emerging field of personalized cancer therapy. We intend to help clinicians better "customize" cancer treatment decisions, by positively identifying high-risk patients who need aggressive therapy and by sparing those at low-risk from the harmful side effects and expense of chemotherapy and/or radiation.

The vast majority of fatalities in solid tumor cancers occur when cancer cells leave the tumor and travel through the bloodstream to other organs in the body in a process called metastasis. The discovery of the mechanism of metastasis was finally made possible because of our use of new tools for the observation and isolation of deadly metastatic cancer cells. We believe our diagnostic product line, including the MetaSite Breast™, MenaCalc Breast™, MenaCalc Lung™ and MenaCalc Prostate™ tests, will accurately predict the probability that cancer will systemically metastasize. These tests could be a breakthrough for cancer patients and their doctors because metastasis is responsible for approximately 90% of fatalities from solid epithelial cancers. Further, we believe our platform technology may be applicable in up to 80% of all solid tumor cancers, including prostate, lung, colorectal, head and neck, and pancreatic. Most significantly, we believe our MenaBloc™ technology provides us with targets of intervention in key pathways for the development of therapeutics that may preemptively reduce or eliminate metastasis.

Our technology platform and corresponding products result from over 15 years of collaboration involving four scientific institutions. We believe we are unique and differentiated in the marketplace because our discoveries are based on direct microscopic visualization of living, functioning tumors in vivo and the behavior of these highly metastatic cells as they migrate to and penetrate blood vessels, where they are subsequently carried away to establish distant site tumors.

For More Information, Contact:
Warren C. Lau
President & CEO
MetaStat, Inc.
(973) 744-7618

(Source: Market Wire )
(Source: Quotemedia)

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