Rubicon Genomics, Inc., have announced a multi-year Research and Option Agreement with Abbott Molecular, a division of Abbott, to develop and commercialize its MethylPlex™ methylation detection technology for diagnosis and prognosis of cancer.
MethylPlex™ is designed to be a very sensitive and simple method to detect the patterns of abnormal DNA methylation arising in serum and urine during tumor formation and progression.
Methylation is a natural process that occurs when a methyl group is introduced into one of DNA's four bases, cytosine. The presence of methylation is responsible for controlling the activity of genes by turning them off, like a switch, when not needed.
By measuring the differences in the methylation patterns between healthy and diseased tissue, a change in gene activity that could trigger diseases such as cancer can be detected.
The patient tests will employ proprietary Rubicon methylation markers in conjunction with a radically-simplified method to detect those markers, which overcomes the barriers of sensitivity, cost and time that have hampered the implementation of DNA methylation screening up to this point.
The primary focus of the collaboration will be non-invasive detection of prostate and bladder cancer. "We believe that DNA methylation is the most sensitive and specific indication of early cancer detection and prognosis," said Fred Beyerlein, President and CEO of Rubicon Genomics.
"We are looking forward to working with Abbott, a recognized leader in the field of cancer diagnostics. This is a great match of innovative technology and in-depth disease and market expertise."