Using gene expression data combined with bioinformatic analyses, scientists at the University of Georgia and China's Jilin University are developing a urine-based protein biomarker test for gastric cancer that they hope to offer as a direct-to-consumer diagnostic.
The technology, which is being commercialized by start-up firm MagArray, is aimed primarily at drug screening applications, allowing pharmaceutical firms to test compounds against a wide number of proteins for off-target binding, said one of the researchers.
The company released results from studies of its six-protein diagnostic panel for lung cancer at this month's AACR meeting and this summer may take part in a 300-patient trial sponsored by the NCI's Early Detection Research Network.
The patents cover the selection of non-small cell lung cancer patients, colorectal cancer patients, and head and neck cancer patients for treatment with drugs targeting the epidermal growth-factor receptor pathway.
Called plasmadiscover41, the panel comprises 41 plasma proteins thought to be potential biomarkers for various cancers. The company is also working on a 50- to 60-protein panel for CSF biomarkers that it plans to introduce in the second quarter.
The device, named the Verisante Aura, uses Raman spectroscopy to measure levels of various biomarkers – including proteins, nucleic acids, and metabolites – in skin lesions. In initial clinical trials it distinguished between benign and malignant lesions with 100-percent sensitivity and 70-percent specificity.