NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – MDxHealth today announced a scientific agreement with the commercialization arm of the Queensland University of Technology, QUT bluebox, to develop a liquid biopsy epigenetic assay for the early detection of oral cancer.
Under the terms of the deal, MDxHealth and QUT will evaluate and develop the test, which will evaluate abnormal DNA methylation changes, seen as an early event in tumor progression. MDxHealth will have the first option to license the commercial diagnostic rights. Proceeds will support the firm's R&D pipeline for urologic cancer diagnostics, and research and translational activities at the university and its Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, MDxHealth said.
Additional details were not disclosed.
According to MDxHealth, 20,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year in the US. The test being developed would allow for "much earlier detection of oral cancer and potentially precancerous lesions by a variety of specialties, including general practitioners, oncologists, and dentists," said Chamindie Punyadeera, an associate professor at QUT's School of Biomedical Sciences, and IHBI. After a saliva swab is collected, it will be sent to a lab, or be tested on site to determine whether clinical follow-up is necessary, he added.
"A simple and fast point-of-care test could help dentists to rule out oral cancer while you have your dental checkup," MDxHealth CEO Jan Groen said in a statement. "This scientific collaboration is an opportunity for both MDxHealth and QUT to leverage existing know-how to develop a groundbreaking oral cancer test that will improve overall survival for thousands of patients."