Molecular diagnostics company plans to utilize biomarker in new multiplex cervical cancer tests
September 17, 2015 – Stony Brook University has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with molecular diagnostics company OncoGenesis Corporation, on the use of the protein biomarker Keratin 17 (K17) for diagnostic and prognostic applications for cervical cancer. These applications will be developed based on the research of Kenneth Shroyer, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology, and colleagues at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.
Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent form of cancer found in women worldwide. Treatment for the disease is highly effective if detected early, yet over 250,000 die annually because current diagnostic methods used for the detection and treatment of cervical cancer are ineffective. In addition, these tests are not readily available in many parts of the world because they require a trained professional to run and interpret. Therefore, new diagnostics are needed.
Dr. Shroyer and colleagues discovered that K17 promotes cancer and plays a crucial role in degrading a key tumor suppressor protein. Details of this research are featured in a recent issue of Cancer Research and in this press release. They also found that K17 cervical cancer patients have a decreased chance of long-term survival when compared to patients who express little to no K17 in tumor tissue. This led the team on a path to identify K17 as a specific biomarker of cervical cancer.
“We believe that K17 has extraordinary clinical potential as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for cervical cancer,” said Dr. Shroyer. He and graduate student Luisa Escobar-Hoyos will present supportive research findings in two platform presentations on September 18 at the 30th International Papillomavirus (HPV) Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. Luisa will present a third platform presentation on September 19th.
“Our research on the role of K17 in cancer will continue, and we suspect to discover more about K17 specific to cervical cancer, which will help us to advise OncoGenesis on other approaches to developing clinical applications,” added Dr. Shroyer.
OncoGenesis is developing a comprehensive solution ranging from optimal specimen collection to point-of-care diagnostic testing that the company hopes will set a new standard of care for the diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer worldwide. At the heart of the solution is the CerMark™ multiplex molecular cervical cancer screening test that evaluates protein biomarkers from cervical cells. The test measures multiple protein biomarker levels to profile the critical cellular changes in a cervical cell specimen. For example, by quantifying K17 protein levels in high-grade cervical cells, and correlating these levels with cervical cancer patient survival, the test will provide clinicians actionable diagnostic and prognostic information to effectively screen and manage their patients for cervical cancer.
“We are excited to continue our long and successful relationship with Stony Brook and Dr. Shroyer and for the opportunity to utilize proprietary biomarkers such as K17 in our cervical cancer test.” said Dr. Nam W. Kim, OncoGenesis’ Senior Vice President of Technology. “The addition of the K17 biomarker onto our CerMark multiplex test will further improve the accuracy and performance of our test in detecting cervical cancer. We believe that providing clinicians with this information at the point-of-care will revolutionize the screening and management of women for cervical cancer worldwide.”
OncoGenesis plans to begin clinical testing of its CerMark test in late 2015.