Exosome Diagnostics and the department of dermatology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich have been awarded a €1 million ($1.3 million) grant from the German government to develop diagnostic cancer tests based on RNA from plasma-derived exosomes.
Under the grant, from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the researchers plan to develop diagnostic technology to detect tumor-specific mutations in the blood of patients with malignant cancer in order to monitor disease recurrence, aid therapy selection, and possibly improve early tumor detection. The partners plan to couple exosome-based technology with next-generation sequencing and qPCR instrument platforms.
Exosome Diagnostics plans to offer clinical diagnostic tests developed under the project commercially at its laboratories in St. Paul, Minn., and Munich.
Microvesicles, which include exosomes, contain large quantities of tumor-derived mRNA found in biofluids outside of tumor cells. They provide a stable source of RNA in blood, urine, and spinal fluid.
The company has been developing a multiplexed sequencing method for mRNA from blood and urine exosome preparations, which allows for the sensitive detection of rare gene mutations.