Three new biomarker companies have been selected to work with the Early Diagnosis Consortium, a collaboration between Cancer Research U.K., its commercial arm, Cancer Research Technology, and Abcodia, a specialist company engaged in the validation of biomarkers for the early detection and screening of cancer.
The decision follows completion of a pilot phase to evaluate technologies for their ability to discover biomarkers that can detect cancer in its earliest stages, long before symptoms appear, when treatment is most likely to be effective. The technologies were tested against serum samples selected from a biobank of more than five million serum samples, collected from women as part of the UKCTOCS trial, to which Abcodia has exclusive commercial access.
Based on these findings, the three companies involved will be Caprion, a Canada-based company which specializes in proteomics; Asuragen, a Texas-based company which uses next-generation sequencing to find circulating microRNAs; and the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology using its tumor auto-antibodies platform.
This next stage of the program will focus on identifying biomarkers for colorectal, lung, esophageal and pancreatic cancers, chosen because of the limited availability of screening tests for these cancers and patients’ poor survival when diagnosed at a late stage.
Dr. Julie Barnes, chief executive of Abcodia, said, “The application of such technologies to biomarker discovery in longitudinal samples donated before the clinical presentation of cancer is a real innovation and has the potential to make a real difference to the field of early cancer detection.”