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NCI Seeking Licensee for Colorectal Cancer Biomarkers, Methods of Detection

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This story originally ran on Dec. 10.

The National Cancer Institute this week made available for licensing protein biomarkers and methods for the detection of colorectal cancer.

The biomarkers and methods were identified and developed by NCI researchers Thomas Ried and Jens Habermann, the institute said in an announcement. Using the SELDI-TOF platform, now marketed and sold by Bio-Rad Laboratories, they identified 13 biomarkers and showed “that SELDI-TOF based serum marker protein profiling enables minimally invasive detection of colon cancer with 96.7 percent sensitivity and 100 percent specificity,” NCI said.

A patent application, number 20090142332, covering the invention was filed on Sept. 21, 2007, with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

In the application, Ried and Habermann said that their invention provides for the first time novel protein markers that are differentially expressed in patients with colon cancer, compared to healthy patients. The invention also provides kits, and “sensitive and quick” methods for determining a patient’s colon cancer status using the biomarkers.

According to the NCI, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer mortality in the US. In 2009, 106,100 new cases of colon cancer and 40,780 new cases of rectal cancer in the US are projected. Combined, the two cancers are projected to kill 49,920 Americans in 2009.

Current methods of diagnosing the disease include sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and fecal occult blood tests. However, such methods are uncomfortable, resulting in a large non-compliance rate or high rate of false-positive results.

“The claimed invention has the potential to be a widely used, easy-to-use, and inexpensive diagnostic,” the NCI said. Those interested in licensing the invention should contact Surekha Vathyam at [email protected] or (301) 435-4076.

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