Northwestern University Study Finds Ultrasensitive Assay Can Predict Recurrence of...

Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:35pm EDT

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Northwestern University Study Finds Ultrasensitive Assay Can Predict Recurrence
of Prostate Cancer

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Oct. 19, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nanosphere, Inc.
(Nasdaq:NSPH), a leader in the development and commercialization of advanced
molecular diagnostics systems, today announced that a research team at
Northwestern University's International Institute for Nanotechnology found that
an ultrasensitive nanoparticle-based assay, 300 times more sensitive than
commercial immunoassays, is capable of detecting previously undetectable levels
of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in patients who have undergone radical

After the removal of the prostate gland, patients typically have PSA levels that
are undetectable when measured by using conventional diagnostic tools, and which
can take years to detect recurrent cancer. This ability to easily and quickly
detect very low levels of PSA may enable doctors to diagnose men with prostate
cancer recurrence years earlier than is currently possible. Prostate cancer is
the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States. (Only
lung cancer is more deadly.)

"We have defined a new zero for PSA," said Chad A. Mirkin, George B.  Rathmann
Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, professor
of medicine and professor of materials science and engineering and a director of
Nanosphere. "This level of sensitivity in detecting low concentrations of PSA
will take the blinders off the medical community, especially when it comes to
tracking residual disease."

The clinical pilot study, led by Dr. Chad Mirkin and C. Shad Thaxton, M.D.,
assistant professor of urology in Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine,
was designed to assess the ability of Nanosphere's nanoparticle-based
bio-barcode assay probe to detect PSA levels in the serum of 18 men who had
undergone radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. (Dr. Mirkin and Dr. Thaxton
are members of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern
University.) The study will be published today in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the Academy's scientific journal.

"This study validates the enormous capabilities of our nanoparticle-based assays
and the Verigene platform which has been developed by Nanosphere scientists and
engineers," said William Moffitt, Nanosphere's president and chief executive
officer. "This ultrasensitive assay for testing PSA levels points to several
significant outcomes that can have tremendous impact on how men with post
radical prostatectomies are treated. For those patients with detectable and
non-rising PSA levels, which is 42% of the population who have undergone radical
prostatectomies, they can be informed much sooner that their cancer will not
recur, relieving them of additional treatment and emotional burden."

"For the remaining patients the Nanosphere ultrasensitive assay will be able to
assign recurrence much earlier than conventional assays. These men can be
treated at a much earlier stage, and possibly enhancing their ultimate
outcomes," Mr. Moffitt explained. "The third significant possible outcome from
this study is the confirmation that PSA levels can now be detected in this
radical prostatectomy population which validates PSA as a definitive marker for
follow-on experimental therapies that can be used in treatment for recurrence of
the cancer."

Nanosphere and Northwestern's International Institute for Nanotechnology are
currently engaged in a retrospective study on radical prostatectomy patients and
will soon be launching a broad prospective study.

About Nanosphere, Inc.

Nanosphere develops, manufactures and markets an advanced molecular diagnostics
platform, the Verigene(R) System, for direct genomic and ultra-sensitive protein
detection. This easy to use and cost effective platform enables simple, low cost
and highly sensitive genomic and protein testing on a single platform.
Nanosphere is based in Northbrook, IL. Additional information is available at

The Nanosphere, Inc. logo is available at

CONTACT:  Nanosphere, Inc.
          Roger Moody, Chief Financial Officer

          The Torrenzano Group
          Rick Anderson, 212-681-1700, Ext. 115