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VolitionRx, MD Anderson Collaborate to Evaluate NuQ Assays for Anaplastic Prostate Cancer

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – VolitionRx today announced a collaboration with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology to evaluate the use of the firm's NuQ assay to distinguish anaplastic prostate cancer from typical castration-resistance prostate cancer (CRPC).

Anaplastic prostate cancer is a particularly aggressive form of the disease that acts like small-cell prostate carcinomas. Unlike with many CRPCs, a less aggressive form of prostate cancer, anaplastic prostate cancer requires early chemotherapy, and a non-invasive molecular biomarker for the early identification of the disease is needed. According to VolitionRx, about 20 percent to 30 percent of lethal cases of prostate cancer are anaplastic prostate cancer.

The partners will carry out a retrospective study that will include samples from two earlier clinical trials. One trial included selected men with CRPC who met one of seven anaplastic clinical criteria. The other included unselected men with non-anaplastic CRPC.

Patterns and changes in histone modifications are associated with certain cancers, and the partners will use VolitionRx's assays to assess specific histone modifications of circulating nucleosomes to determine the utility of VolitionRx's assays for identifying anaplastic CRPC.

"If our NuQ tests can identify objective molecular markers for anaplastic prostate carcinomas, there could be exciting potential for the tests to advance our understanding of the disease process and improve patient outcomes," VolitionRx Chief Medical Officer Jason Terrell said in a statement.

The Belgium-based company noted that in addition to the MD Anderson collaboration, it is involved in several clinical trials evaluating the NuQ assays as a cancer diagnostic tool, including a 4,800-patient retrospective study and a 14,000-patient prospective study into colorectal cancer at Hvidovre Hospital, the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

It also has a 4,000-patient prospective study at University Hospital in Bonn, Germany to investigate the use of NuQ for the 20 most prevalent cancers. Another 250-patient study into colorectal cancer is being conducted at CHU-UCL Mont Godinne Hospital in Belgium.