Quest Diagnostics has begun offering a test for measuring free epidermal growth factor receptor using Somalogic's aptamer-based Somamer technology.
The test is designed to measure free EGFR concentration in patients receiving cetuximab or panitumumab – marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb/Merck/Lilly as Erbitux and by Amgen as Vectibix, respectively – as a surrogate drug efficacy indicator.
Somalogic director of communications Fintan Steele told ProteoMonitor that the Somamer technology appears to distinguish between bound and unbound levels of EGFR in serum better than existing antibodies to the protein, making it potentially useful for measuring these levels.
Steele noted that the EGFR test is not a main focus of Somalogic and Quest's relationship – which has primarily emphasized development of larger diagnostic panels for diseases including lung and pancreatic cancer – but he called it a "proof of concept of the [Somamer] technology."
The Somamer technology uses a modified form of aptamers – single-stranded nucleic acids capable of binding target molecules – for the detection of proteins. The molecules represent an alternative to antibodies for protein discovery and identification, offering a high level of specificity that allows for multiplex arrays significantly larger than is possible using traditional ELISA platforms.