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Additional Members Join UK Cancer Consortium

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — Cancer Research UK today announced the addition of three companies to the Early Diagnosis Consortium, an effort to discover and validate blood-based biomarkers for use in cancer screening.

The three new firms are proteomics shop Caprion, molecular diagnostics and miRNA company Asuragen, and the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, which will use its tumor auto-antibody platform for the consortium's work. They join Cancer Research UK, its commercial arm, Cancer Research Technology, and biomarker discovery and verification company Abcodia, which formed the Early Diagnosis Consortium last year to develop blood tests for detecting early stage cancers.

The addition of the new firms follows a pilot phase that assessed the ability of technologies to discover new cancer biomarkers in the earliest stages of disease, long before symptoms appear. As part of the pilot phase, serum samples were chosen from a biobank of more than 5 million samples collected from women as part of the UKCTOCS trial. Abcodia has exclusive commercial access to the biobank.

In the next phase, the consortium members will identify biomarkers for colorectal, lung, esophageal, and pancreatic cancers. The availability of screening tests for the four cancers are limited, Cancer Research UK said, and patients diagnosed with the diseases at late stages have poor survival rates.