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Proteomics blood test primed for cancer fight

Updated: Apr 17

Proteomics International Laboratories’ “PromarkerEso” blood test impressed during lab testing. Credit: File

Proteomics International Laboratories has revealed new results showing that refinement of its simple “PromarkerEso” blood test correctly identified 89 per cent of patients with a type of oesophageal cancer and 92 per cent of patients without the disease.

Proteomics says PromarkerEso has the potential to replace an expensive screening process, which requires a specialist endoscopy procedure. It currently costs $4310 per patient, contributing to a total annual expenditure on treating oesophageal cancer in the United States of $4.5 billion.

An endoscopy is a procedure which uses a flexible tube to look down a patient’s throat and into the stomach and a biopsy can be taken for lab analysis.

Oesophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer-related deaths, the seventh most common cancer globally and 80 per cent of patients lose their battle within five years of diagnosis because the cancer can spread to nearby lymph nodes, or to other parts of the body. Its pre-malignant condition, Barrett’s oesophagus, can develop from chronic acid reflux.

Proteomics will showcase its potentially game-changing technology tomorrow at the 19th ISDE World Congress for Esophageal Diseases in Toronto, Canada. It says the presentation will build upon earlier work that identified and validated a panel of glycoprotein biomarkers, or protein “fingerprints” in blood, using 300 samples from two independent clinical cohorts.

The conference will also provide a key networking opportunity for the company as it seeks to engage with key opinion leaders who could help guide the early adoption of PromarkerEso.

We’ve refined our diagnostic models to correctly identify 89% of patients with oesophageal adenocarcinoma and 92% of patients without the disease. This means we could have a simple blood test to determine who would benefit from an endoscopy. We believe that such a test would garner significant clinical and commercial interest should it be further validated. Proteomics International Laboratories managing director Richard Lipscombe

The company says its technology is a powerful alternative to genetic testing and can identify proteins that distinguish between people who have a disease and people who do not, using only a simple blood test. The technology applies a low, medium and high-risk scoring system to categorise a patient’s chance of having the disease.

Management says it has recently secured an agreement to access 350 additional blood samples from oesophageal and other selected cancer patients that are stored at the Victorian Cancer Biobank. It will use the samples for external validation of the accuracy of PromarkerEso, with results expected early next year.

Proteomics says the next steps in commercialising PromarkerEso are to streamline biomarker measurements to produce a test suitable for use in certified clinical laboratories, conduct tests on an additional cohort to confirm clinical performance and pursue formal economic health benefit modelling to demonstrate how the new test could significantly change the way doctors make treatment decisions. The company anticipates the steps will be completed during the next nine months.

There are different types of oesophageal cancer. The most common type is called “adenocarcinoma”, which grows in the lower part of the oesophagus and was the target of the PromarkerEso testing.

The cancer-fighting sector is a moving feast, as new technology continually brings new hope to patients and families who are suddenly cast into a battle for life. A simple blood test that is proven to work could have Proteomics playing a meaningful role in the fight.

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