Breast cancer: Look to signs in your blood, research says

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New scientific data could lead to the development of novel diagnostic tests on blood samples that will allow for early detection of breast cancer. The research was performed by French company ExonHit Therapeutics, a drug and diagnostic discovery company, and vitro diagnostics company bioMérieux. The research will be presented next Wednesday (April 4th) at the 97th Annual AACR (American Association for Cancer Research) meeting in Washington, D.C.
   
The hope is that diagnostic tests on blood will help doctors make decisions more quickly as to breast cancer treatment and thus improve the chances of recovery for patients.
   
The scientific data shows that the panel of genetic signatures identified by ExonHit can clearly distinguish healthy women from those with early stage breast cancer. With accuracy of 86.7 percent, 54 genes were correctly classified in a group of 92 women – 55 of them with stage I/II breast cancer and 37 healthy women. A prospective multi-centre clinical study in 1,000 women has been initiated to validate the specificity and selectivity of the markers identified, according to a release.   

“These results provide a clear proof of concept that by using a well characterized set of molecular markers in blood it can be possible to develop a valuable diagnostic test for breast cancer,” said Bruno Tocqué, president of the Management Board of ExonHit Therapeutics. “This is an extremely positive development, which I view as a first success in our collaboration with bioMérieux. We are very pleased to be able to be working with bioMérieux to manage a multi-centre clinical study, the next stage in the development of what we believe could be a major advance in the diagnosis of breast cancer,” added Tocqué.

The research – which should help the development of novel molecular diagnostics in cancer – was based on ExonHit’s ability in identifying specific genetic signatures from alternative RNA splicing associated with diseases. The development of the tests will be propelled by bioMérieux’s capabilities in developing and commercializing diagnostic tests.