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20/20 GeneSystems Awarded $750,000 NCI Contract

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
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Award will see 20/20 develop companion diagnostic for targeted therapies in kidney cancer.

20/20 GeneSystems, Inc. announces that the NCI has awarded the company a cost-sharing Phase II Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) contract to develop, optimize, and validate (analytically and clinically) a test to help predict whether a patient with advanced stage kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma) is likely to benefit from anti-angiogenic therapy. The anticipated end result is a diagnostic test that will indicate to oncologists the appropriate treatment for patients. 

With an estimated 65,000 new cases in the US in 2013 kidney cancer represents 3% of all cancers yet the disease is the 6th leading cancer death, with an estimated 13,600 deaths in 2013. Kidney cancer does not exhibit any symptoms at an early stage it therefore often remains undetected until it is advanced. Advanced renal cell carcinoma does not respond to chemotherapy and radiation. Three types of treatments are currently used: immunotherapy, anti-angiogenic agents, and mTOR inhibitors and no treatment is effective in more than a fraction of patients. Kidney cancer can progress very rapidly. Once the cancer is detected it is important to select the right treatment as quickly as possible. 

“There is a large unmet clinical need for an assay to identify kidney cancer patients likely to respond or not respond to a particular therapy. The early results which 20/20 presented last year are very promising. The 20/20 test would help guide treatment decisions and strategies so we can provide the best informed care to our patients,” says Sandy Srinivas, MD, Associate Professor of Oncology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “There is a definite need for a companion diagnostic to predict response to anti-angiogenic drugs as there are other targeted therapies, with other mechanisms of action, which may be more suitable”. 

The development of the proof of concept development was funded by Phase I SBIR contract HHSN261201000135C from the National Cancer Institute and private funds. 

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