A non-invasive genetic testing for multiple cancers

Current cancer detection methods can capture only one cancer at a time.  Cancer, when detected early, has more therapeutic options and results in higher survival rates. However, with no symptoms, it is difficult to screen for cancer. There is an unmet need to develop a single test that can screen any cancer type before symptoms appear.

Cancer

Globally, cancer is the leading cause of deaths. Every second person (49% of men and 45% of women) is expected to develop cancer during their lifetime, and every fourth person (28% of men and 24% of women) is expected to die from cancer. The early detection is the key to improving survival rates by as much as 20% to 50%.

Unfortunately, the current detection methods rely on indicators such as symptoms and risk factors- smoking, family history or age- before further testing is done.

This is often too late.

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Liquid biopsy and DNA methylation

Enrich Bioscience is leveraging the science of DNA methylation and its close relationship with cancer to develop a panel of cancer biomarkers. The tools of DNA methylation allow to detect cancerous DNA from a sea of healthy cells, a scenario anticipated in a non-invasive blood sample of a patient.

Challenges of cancer detection

Key to manage cancer is early detection in non-invasive samples with a multi-biomarker approach.

Technological Challenges:

  • Multi-targeted analysis of biomarkers in a single reaction causes random amplification, which compromises accuracy.
  • Solid organ cancer DNA is released into the circulating blood in minute amounts.
  • Solid organ cancer DNA in the blood is fragmented, which is difficult to capture and analyze.

Biological Challenge:

Cancer is heterogeneous and its profile changes with stage- and treatment type.

One test for multiple cancers.

A multi-biomarker test on non-invasive samples allows for numerous benefits for patients.

Early diagnosis – Early detection is crucial to increase the chances of successful treatment, making more options available, including surgery and chemotherapy.

Differentiation of cancer types – Multiple biomarkers increases sensitivity and specificity of the test. Analyzing non-invasive sample material, which is limited in amount,  for a single biomarker may results in high false negatives. On the contrary, a few biomarkers, such as PSA testing for prostate cancer detection,  are sensitive but are also non-specific resulting in high false positive for cancer detection. What is required is a test that is highly sensitive and is also highly specific.

Multiple studies have shown that DNA methylation biomarkers improve specificity to differentiate cancer types and that it can detect cancer at an earlier stage such as stage I or II.

Therapeutic options – patterns of biomarkers will predict treatment options.

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