Epigenomics Demonstrates Feasibility of Convenient Blood Test for Lung
News Jun 28, 2007
Epigenomics AG takes a further step towards launching a convenient blood-based lung cancer screening test that could improve the early detection of lung cancer, the most common cause of cancer-related death. The molecular diagnostics company announced positive data resulting from a clinical study as part of its lung cancer screening test development program.
The program aims at developing a blood based test for the reliable and convenient early detection of lung cancer. In an initial study last year Epigenomics identified numerous candidate DNA methylation biomarkers that appear in lung tumors, but not in normal lung tissue.
The objective of this most recent study, run in cooperation with the Department of Pneumology at the Charité in Berlin headed by Prof. Dr. Christian Witt, was to show that the most promising candidate biomarker identified previously can also be detected in blood plasma of lung cancer patients.
The study was carried out on a group of patients with either lung cancer or benign lung disease. The study came to the result that the most promising candidate biomarker detects patients with lung cancer, and differentiates them from individuals with positive computer tomography (CT) due to non-cancerous lung diseases.
Based on this DNA methylation biomarker and the encouraging results, Epigenomics will continue the development of its lung cancer screening test. With these results in lung cancer, Epigenomics has achieved clinical proof-of-concept in the third major cancer indication, after clinical studies in colorectal cancer and prostate cancer screening programs.
“Currently no such test is available for the mass screening, especially for the high risk group of more than 90 million smokers in the major markets. We aim at developing such a test and have now made substantial progress to this end”, said Christian Piepenbrock, Chief Operating Officer of Epigenomics. “In the next step, we will further improve the performance of the test based on our newly identified biomarker and potentially other complementary biomarkers.”
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.