NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – DNAlytics and Belgian life sciences research institute VIB announced today that they have formed a collaboration to develop a blood-based screening test for colorectal cancer.
According to the partners, the test will be based on the work of VIB-KU Leuven's Massimiliano Mazzone and his colleagues, who identified a 23-gene expression signature in tumor-educated circulating monocytes that can be used for colorectal cancer diagnosis. The signature has been evaluated in blood samples from about 550 individuals — both healthy volunteers and colorectal cancer patients — and has demonstrated sensitivity and specificity of over 90 percent, they added. Additional clinical validation is ongoing.
DNAlytics will use this signature with an online software platform that combines transcriptomic inputs with machine learning to develop a colorectal cancer screen — to be called ColonoKit — that it expects will be used prior to colonoscopy.
Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"With this test we strike several birds with one blow," DNAlytics CEO Thibault Helleputte said in a statement. "It has a higher performance than the current available tests, and since it is a blood test it might lower the reluctance seen in patients towards the stool test."