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Oxford Gene Technology Licenses ICR Prostate Cancer Biomarker Panel

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Institute of Cancer Research, London has granted Oxford Gene Technology a license to develop a panel of diagnostic and prognostic prostate cancer microRNA biomarkers into a new assay, OGT said today.

The license is the result of a three-year collaboration, under which ICR and OGT discovered new microRNA biomarkers with a range of applications for the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment planning, and monitoring of prostate cancer.

OGT said this collection of microRNA markers have a specificity of over 90 percent and have the potential to be used not only to identify prostate cancer but also to assess its aggressiveness. Knowing the aggressiveness of an individual case of prostate cancer could help physicians tailor their treatments to specific patients, whereas current practices can lead to the removal of the prostate and chemotherapy, even though many patients may not require such excessive treatments.

Recent research has shown that current methods for diagnosing prostate cancer, including prostate-specific antigen tests and digital examinations, have a high false positive rate and do not distinguish between aggressive and indolent cancers, OGT said.

The company said that it is considering its options for commercializing the panel and may offer the test through its own service labs.

OGT also noted that it is evaluating the panel in blood and urine samples, and efforts to translate it to a blood-based PCR test have shown "very encouraging results."

Financial terms of the license were not released.

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