Haematology

The researches find that the testing for such as lung cancer disease, but doctors know that tissue biopsies are necessary and potentially life-saving; though the procedures used to gather tissue can lead to dangerous complications; from bleeding to lung collapse. Because To lower the need for invasive procedures; therefore researchers at the University of Arizona developed a new blood test that can detect most major cancers and have launched a startup, DesertDx, to bring the invention to doctors and their patients.

Detect most major cancers

Bernard Futscher, professor at the UA College of Pharmacy; and Lukas Vrba; assistant research scientist at the UA Cancer Center, have combined the latest discoveries in epigenetics with new methods in informatics to create a new breed of “liquid biopsy a blood test for screening; detecting and monitoring cancer.

The team first brought the discovery to Tech Launch Arizona, or TLA, the UA office that commercializes research-based inventions; in 2016. In the intervening years; TLA has helped the team protect and refine the intellectual property for the technology, create a business strategy and build a leadership team that includes Mark Nelson; professor of pathology at the UA College of Medicine Tucson, as CEO of DesertDx. The executive management team also includes Corey Hill as chief business officer and Futscher as chief science officer.

The intellectual property

“Being involved in the I-Corps program and working with TLA has been a very positive experience for us,” Nelson said. “We’ve received great support and advice as we move toward commercialization. We are excited about our technology, which we’re calling DDX-Sentinel; and its potential to help patients.”

When cancerous and non-cancerous tumors appear in the body; cells from the tumors break off and circulate in the bloodstream. Cancers are unique in how they disrupt the epigenetic makeup of DNA through a process called methylation, and because of that; the new blood test is able to detect and quantify the presence of cancer cells.

Epidermal growth factor

The one liquid biopsy product that is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration is limited in scope; as it tests for an epidermal growth factor receptor mutation that helps doctors decide whether a specific drug will be effective for individual lung cancer patients. The DesertDx blood test has broader implications. The new test will allow doctors to evaluate the effectiveness of cancer surgeries by comparing the levels of tumor markers before and after procedures, while also monitoring for cancer recurrences.