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Interpace Biosciences, University of North Carolina Launch Barrett's Esophagus Study

NEW YORK – Interpace Diagnostics, a subsidiary of Interpace Biosciences, has partnered with the University of North Carolina's to explore the use of Interpace's BarreGen test in Barrett's esophagus patients undergoing radiofrequency ablation (RFA), the company announced on Monday.

As part of the collaboration with UNC's division of gastroenterology, UNC will use the BarreGen assay to target the potential for molecular changes to predict resistance or relapse following RFA.

Parsippany, New Jersey-based Interpace's BarreGen identifies patients who are likely to progress from Barrett's esophagus to more advanced stages of the disease associated with cancer. RFA is a cancer preventative therapy that helps delay or stop Barrett's progression to esophageal cancer. 

In the prospective study, UNC gastroenterologist Nick Shaheen and his team will test about 60 patients at the university with dysplastic Barrett's undergoing RFA. The group believes that BarreGen may allow clinicians to adjust ablative protocols, offering optimal treatment response and improved patient outcome. 

In addition, Shaheen and his team hope the test may help clinicians identify patients at risk for recurrence after an initially successful ablation. 

The collaborators anticipate enrolling patients beginning in the first quarter of 2020. 

"We look forward to reporting the results of this novel study that will combine Interpace's molecular expertise in Barrett's with UNC's clinical and research expertise," Interpace CEO Jack Stover said in a statement. "Defining the value of BarreGen in this new patient population may give clinicians a new use for this powerful assay." 

In morning trading on the Nasdaq, Interpace Bio's stock was up about 4 percent at $.53 per share.

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