NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – British Columbia-based molecular diagnostics company Med BioGene has obtained exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize early-stage, non-small-cell lung cancer prognostic tests discovered by researchers in the Ontario-based University Health Network.
Under the licensing and collaboration agreement, Med BioGene plans to market the test — a gene expression-based assay — under the trade name LungExpress Dx. The assay was developed by researchers in the UHN — three teaching hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto. The prognostic test has been presented at scientific meetings and an article on the technology was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology last December.
Last year, in the United States alone, there were roughly 213,000 new lung cancer cases. Some 85 percent of these are non-small cell lung cancers. Most of these, if detected early, are treated by surgically removing tumors. But there are differences in treatment response between individuals. Some benefit from chemotherapy after surgery while others may not require it.
The LungExpress Dx test is intended to help physicians select those patients who will benefit most from chemotherapy treatment after surgery. By identifying these patients, the researchers say, it may be possible to narrow the group of patients who get chemotherapy, sparing those who don’t need it from an expensive and highly toxic treatment.
“This test has the potential to make an immediate impact upon patient care by providing a more significant understanding of each patient’s lung cancer, thus resulting in better-informed, more appropriate treatment decisions,” Frances Shepherd, chair of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group Lung Cancer Site and who helped develop the UHN test, said in a statement. “We are moving much closer to the ultimate goal of personalized medicine.”