Seminar: Molecular profiling of Colon Cancer

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2015-04-16: by Francis Barany, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Weill Cornell Medical College, US.
The seminar will take place April 16th, 14.00-15.00 at University of Copenhagen, Orangeriet, Dyrlægevej 36, Frederiksberg C.

Registration is not necessary. Refreshments will be served.


Cancer now ranks as the leading cause of both disease and death worldwide – for colorectal cancer (CRC) the annual figures are over 1,400,000 and 700,000, respectively.  Most CRC cases have chromosomal instability (CIN), in which the tumor genome is characterized by gross chromosomal copy number changes (gains, losses), which are crucial to CRC progression, as they influence gene expression towards cancer-promoting (oncogenic or loss of tumor suppressive) states. Our own integrated genomic analysis (copy number and expression arrays) of over 200 CRC tumor and normal samples, indicates that the overall down-regulation of genes within the 8p or 18q arms are markers of poor prognosis.  We also identified a panel of 69 genes whose expression levels provided a pair of prognostic scores; including MSI and promoter methylation status improved their predictive value.  We are also exploring the potential for a novel design to detect K-ras mutations (as a marker of chemosensitivity and metastatic recurrence) and other genetic markers directly from circulating tumor cells (CTCs) selected on a microfluidic device.  The microfluidic system is composed of task-specific plastic modules interfaced to a fluidic motherboard, similar in design to a personal computer.


Professor Francis Barany received his Ph.D. in 1981 in Microbiology at The Rockefeller University with Professor Alexander Tomasz. He was a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow with Professor Hamilton O. Smith at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from 1982-1985. Upon appointment as an Assistant Professor in Microbiology at Weill Cornell Medical College in 1985, he was named a Cornell Scholar in Biomedical Sciences, and in 1992 received a five year Hirschl/Monique Weill-Caulier Career Scientist Award.  He currently holds the rank of Full Professor in the Department of Microbiology at Weill-Cornell. He held adjunct appointments at The Rockefeller University in the Dept. of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Structural Biology, as well as Director of Mutation Research at the Strang Cancer Prevention Center. Dr. Barany has served as the chair of Partnerships for Point of Care (POC) Diagnostic Technologies, and Innovative Technologies for the Molecular Analysis of Cancer NIAID and NCI review groups.
A prolific inventor with 48 issued US patents, he is best known for developing the ligase chain reaction (LCR), ligase detection reaction (LDR), and Universal DNA arrays, which are the foundation of commercial tests to diagnose genetic diseases (i.e. cystic fibrosis), detect infectious pathogens, identify cancer mutations, and identify diseases using DNA microarrays and targeted Next-Gen sequencing. The Barany Laboratory patents and intellectual property have generated over $30 million in NIH, NIST and Industrial Grants, over $13 million in royalties to Weill-Cornell, and over $5 billion in sales to biotechnology companies. In 2009 he co-founded Coferon, Inc. ($19M raised), based on his invention of a new class of drugs that enter cells and self-assemble on the target.  With Coferon, Inc., the Barany Laboratory established in vitro inhibition of beta-tryptase with coferons, as well as potent inhibition of the target in animals. In 2012 he co-founded iCareDx Inc., to develop a highly accurate blood test for early detection of colorectal cancer.   Dr. Barany was honored as Medical Diagnostics Research leader, Scientific American 50 in 2004, the Ezra Innovation Award, Cornell University in 2011, and the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry Award for Significant Contributions in Molecular Diagnostics in 2014.

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