The DNA Repair Company Licenses Test Predictive of Poor Outcomes to Breast Cancer Therapy
News Jul 16, 2008
The DNA Repair Company (DNAR), an emerging company focused on personalized approaches to cancer treatment, announced the licensing of the exclusive rights in North America for the use of a newly discovered diagnostic test that strongly predicts how women with breast cancer will respond to a common form of chemotherapy. The rights to the test were acquired from Helsinki University Central Hospital through Licentia Ltd.
The discovery, published in this month’s edition of Nature Genetics, marks an important step toward the development of the first tests capable of identifying the breast cancer patients who should be given an alternative to standard anthracycline-containing chemotherapy regimens.
The research teams reporting the discovery were led by Dr. Heli Nevanlinna at Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland and Dr. Jiri Bartek at the Danish Center Society in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The test has the promise of guiding oncologists in critical treatment choices. DNAR will utilize the genetic variant of the NQO1 enzyme – called NQO1*2 – to create novel diagnostic tests for personalized medicine applications and patient care.
The NQO1 enzyme has previously been shown to guard cells against oxidative stress. The recent publication identified NQO1*2, a variant which disables the production of the NQO1 protein, as a factor in breast cancer treatment response.
Patients having NQO1*2 had worse survival chances when treated with an anthracycline-based chemotherapy than with an alternative therapy. Women who had a double copy of NQO1*2 in their genome had only a 17 percent survival rate while those who had only a single copy, or did not have a variant, had a survival rate of 75 percent.
Women with NQO1*2 variant who were treated with a non-anthracycline containing regimen were less likely to suffer an adverse outcome. The authors emphasize that as this was the first study to discover such an effect and independent studies must be performed before a diagnostic test can be used for clinical decision making.
In treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), physicians can have a hard time telling which newly diagnosed patients have a high risk of severe inflammation or what therapies will be most effective. Now researchers report finding an epigenetic signature in patient cells that appears to predict inflammation risk in a serious type of IBD called Crohn’s disease.