Orion Genomics has announced that it has initiated collaboration with leading researchers at University of Glasgow to discover epigenetic biomarkers for the development of tests that screen for cancer at an early stage and provide personalized information about how tumors are effectively treated.
Under the collaboration, scientists at Orion and the University of Glasgow will use Orion's methylation technologies to identify biomarkers useful in the detection and treatment of cancers of the lung, breast and ovaries.
Methylation refers to naturally occurring chemical modifications of DNA that regulate gene function. Abnormal DNA methylation is often found on DNA from cancerous cells and is believed to impact a tumor's sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs.
The research will use Orion's proprietary DNA methylation technologies, including MethylScope® microarrays and MethylScreen® PCR assays.
The groups will compare patterns of DNA methylation from normal and tumor DNA to identify specific patterns of abnormal methylation that indicate the presence of cancer and provide information about its stage and type.
Orion will develop diagnostics based on these patterns that detect trace amounts of methylated tumor DNA in easily accessed patient samples including blood serum, biopsies, and cell scrapes.
"DNA methylation-based diagnostics have the potential to substantially change the way physicians first diagnose and later treat cancer patients," said Professor Robert Brown, Ph.D., University of Glasgow.
"We are excited to collaborate with Orion Genomics, whose microarray and PCR technologies are at the world forefront for methylation analysis, both for marker discovery and for applying methylation diagnostics in a clinical setting."
"These types of technologies may prove to be extremely powerful if DNA methylation diagnostics are to be used to improve patient outcome and as part of novel strategies in clinical trials."
"Professor Bob Brown is a leader in translation research who has dedicated much of his career to understanding the role of methylation in cancer," said Nathan Lakey, CEO and President of Orion Genomics.
"Professor Brown - working together with clinical trial groups, ethics committees and with support from Cancer Research UK - has carefully assembled tumor banks that will enable scientists in his lab, in collaboration with Orion, to find biomarkers for novel therapy selection and screening diagnostics and will expand Orion's exciting pipeline of diagnostic products."
"We are excited to add the University of Glasgow to our list of collaborations with high-caliber research institutions."