FRIENDSWOOD, Texas, Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Castle Biosciences Inc. announced today the availability of a tumor tissue repository for patients whose tumors are being tested with the Company's gene test for uveal, or ocular, melanoma. Patients will now have the option of storing an additional sample of their tumor free of charge for up to five years, and will be able to access it to take advantage of future developments in the disease.
Castle Biosciences would provide the samples to third parties only with permission of the patient for legitimate research, treatment guidance or diagnostic purposes. Castle will not use the tumor samples for its own research purposes, but rather retain the sample for future patient request.
"Retaining tumor samples could prove extremely important for uveal melanoma patients given the rapid pace of advances in the field," said Dr. J. William Harbour, Professor of Ophthalmology, Vice Chairman for Translational Research and Director of the Ocular Oncology Service at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami. "Patients may find that their tumor's genetic information can guide emerging treatments, entry into clinical studies or further prognostic testing."
The DecisionDx-UM test helps predict a patient's risk of their eye cancer spreading to other organs, predominantly the liver. The test requires a small sample of the patient's tumor, with an additional sample obtained simultaneously should the patient wish to store it in the tissue repository. The Castle repository will be the only broadly available program of its kind.
Commented Grant Allen, Chairman of the Ocular Melanoma Foundation, "This is an important first step in empowering patients as they navigate the diagnosis stage and their own unique disease characteristics. Patients choosing to store a tumor sample could benefit from future treatment advances requiring tumor analysis, a rapidly expanding area of oncology research about which OMF is extremely excited."
"Patients who have chosen to undergo DecisionDx-UM already know the importance of genetic testing in the management and follow-up care of their disease," said Derek Maetzold, CEO of Castle Biosciences. "We believe it is important to offer this new tissue repository service which will expand patient and physician access to future testing."
For more information, please visit www.MyUvealMelanoma.com
About Uveal Melanoma
Although it is rare, and its cause not well understood, uveal melanoma is the most common form of eye cancer in the United States, with about 2,000 diagnoses per year. This form of eye cancer, sometimes referred to as ocular melanoma, may occur in any of the three parts of the uvea. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as choroidal, ciliary body, or iris melanoma based upon its exact location. The choroid is the most common place for a tumor to develop.
Similar to other melanomas, uveal melanoma begins in cells called melanocytes that help produce the pigments of the skin, hair, and eyes. While most patients are middle-aged with fair skin, uveal melanoma can and has affected people of all complexions and ages. Treatments for the primary uveal melanoma tumors are highly effective; however, there is currently no cure for metastatic disease.
The DecisionDx-UM test measures the gene expression profile (GEP), or molecular signature, of an individual's tumor and identifies with high accuracy the likelihood of metastasis. The test requires a sample of the patient's tumor that is obtained prior to radiation surgery, the most common therapy used in the treatment of uveal melanoma.
The DecisionDx-UM test is standard of care in the management of uveal melanoma in the majority of ocular oncology practices (100 of the estimated 110 practices as of February, 2012). Furthermore, the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) recommends the DecisionDx-UM GEP test for its "clinically significant" impact on patient care (AJCC, version 7, 2010). The AJCC is the only national organization that reviews uveal melanoma. The test has been validated in multiple prospective and retrospective studies. More information about the test and disease can be found at www.MyUvealMelanoma.com.
About Castle Biosciences
Castle Biosciences is a molecular diagnostics and prognostics company dedicated to helping patients and their physicians make the best possible decisions about their treatment and follow-up care based on the individual molecular signature of their tumor. The Company currently offers tests for patients with skin melanoma and other rare cancers including uveal melanoma, thymoma, esophageal and brain cancers. More information can be found at www.castlebiosciences.com.
SOURCE Castle Biosciences Inc.