This article has been updated from an earlier version to clarify the fact that the proposed test would be for prognostic, not diagnostic, use.
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Orion Genomics has licensed exclusive, worldwide rights from the Johns Hopkins University to a gene that it plans to use in a test for early prognosis of colorectal cancer.
Under the agreement, Orion has licensed the rights to use JHU technology related to the insulin-like growth factor 2 gene to develop a blood-based risk assessment test for people who may have an increased risk for developing sporadic colorectal cancer. The company expects that the test will make it possible for patients considered to be at risk for colorectal cancer to be tested “significantly earlier,” which could allow doctors to remove precancerous polyps to prevent the onset of colon cancer.
Orion said that research has shown that colorectal cancer and adenoma patients are more likely to carry the IGF2 biomarker than cancer-free control groups.
Orion Genomics CEO Nathan Lakey said that the test has the potential to test people “who should undergo colonoscopy screening 10 to 20 years earlier than the age that is currently recommended.” The American Cancer Society currently recommends that both men and women should begin getting screens for the disease at age 50.
Johns Hopkins University researchers currently are involved in a multi-center trial to study the link between IGF2 and colorectal cancer.
“The test may identify people who should be screened earlier in life and more frequently, while also identifying individuals who can start screening later than what is now recommended, thus serving as a tool to help physicians in developing targeted monitoring plans and shifting resources to the people most likely to develop colon cancer,” said Graham Colditz, associate director of prevention and control at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center.
Further terms of the agreement were not released.