Oxford, UK – 13 March 2013 – Oxford Gene Technology (OGT), provider of innovative genetics research and biomarker solutions to advance molecular medicine, announced today that it has been granted a licence by The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, to further develop and commercialise a new panel of diagnostic and prognostic microRNA biomarkers for prostate cancer. The agreement follows a three-year collaboration between OGT and the ICR resulting in the joint discovery of the microRNA biomarkers. These markers have wide-ranging potential applications in diagnosis, prognosis, treatment planning and patient monitoring.
Currently, the biomarker prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and a digital rectal examination are used to test for prostate cancer and to determine whether a biopsy is required. However, increasing evidence1 indicates that PSA may not be an effective screening tool for prostate cancer due to a high false positive rate and an inability to distinguish between more aggressive and indolent cancers.
Unlike the present screening techniques, the biomarkers discovered by OGT and the ICR have a specificity of over 90% plus the potential to not only identify prostate cancer but also to assess its aggressiveness. This is important as it will allow treatment to be tailored to specific features of the cancer. At present, a diagnosis of prostate cancer can mean removal of the prostate and chemotherapy; patients with indolent cancer often receive, but do not require, such excessive treatment.
Dr Mike Evans, CEO at OGT, said: “We look forward to continuing our work with the ICR and developing this biomarker panel further. We are hopeful that these biomarkers will change the way that patients with prostate cancer are treated. OGT has a rapidly expanding portfolio of biomarkers for early disease detection which includes highly prevalent cancers of major clinical significance, including colorectal cancer.”
Colin Cooper, Professor of cancer genetics at the University of East Anglia, who led the study at the ICR, said: “OGT and the ICR have made significant progress. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men with over 240,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the US alone; we need to focus our efforts not only on ensuring accurate diagnosis but also individualised treatment tailored by prognosis.”
In addition to further validation of the biomarker panel in tissue samples, OGT is evaluating the panel in both blood and urine samples, with initial translation of the assay to blood-based PCR testing showing very encouraging results. OGT is currently reviewing potential options for future commercialisation, including making the resulting test available through OGT’s service laboratories.
OGT supports Prostate Cancer Awareness Month ‘March is for men’ and Prostate Cancer UK. For more information visit www.prostatecanceruk.org
1. Mayer, V.A., (2012) Screening for prostate cancer: U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med 157(2), 120-134
For more information, please contact:
Oxford Gene Technology
Stephen Archibald, Director of Communications
Oxford Gene Technology, Begbroke Science Park, Begbroke Hill, Woodstock Road, Begbroke, Oxfordshire, OX5 1PF
T: +44 (0) 1865 856826
F: +44 (0) 1865 848684
College Hill (PR Agency for OGT)
Melanie Toyne Sewell / Jen Lewis
T: +44 (0) 20 7457 2029
About prostate cancer
Prostate cancer encompasses a number of cancers of the prostate, the most common of which is adenocarcinoma (glandular cancer), which generally originates in the semen-secreting cells of the peripheral zone of the prostate gland. There are many biomarkers for prostate cancer including Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), PCA3 (Prostate Cancer 3) and Early Prostate Cancer Antigen-2 (EPCA-2). However, none of these biomarkers has been shown to be highly sensitive and specific in a clinical setting, and only PSA has been approved for clinical use in the USA.
The incidence of prostate cancer varies across the world. In the UK and the United States, it is the most common type of cancer in men, with approximately 37,000 new cases in the UK and 220,000 new cases in the US diagnosed each year. Definitive diagnosis of prostate cancer is made following histological examination of a biopsy sample by a pathologist. A biopsy is usually indicated following screening using Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), and digital rectal examination (DRE). PSA is a diagnostic not a prognostic i.e., it cannot identify the severity/outcome of the disease.
About Oxford Gene Technology
Founded by Professor Ed Southern, Oxford Gene Technology (OGT) provides innovative genetics research and biomarker solutions to advance molecular medicine. The Company has two trading businesses: Genomics comprises of CytoSure™ cytogenetics array, labelling and interpretation software products and services for the detection of chromosomal abnormalities, and Genefficiency™ Genomic Services, a unique combination of platforms, expertise and processing capabilities to deliver rapid, relevant genomic data. The Biomarkers business utilises proprietary next generation technologies to build a rich patent-protected portfolio of promising biomarkers for early stage cancer detection including advanced programmes in colorectal and prostate cancer plus the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus.
For more information on the Company, please visit our website at: www.ogt.com
CytoSure™ and Genefficiency™ NGS browser: For Research Use Only; Not for Use in Diagnostic Procedures
About the Institute of Cancer Research
The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is one of the world’s most influential cancer research institutes.
Scientists and clinicians at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients’ lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden Hospital and ‘bench-to-bedside’ approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organisations are rated in the top four cancer centres globally.
The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it leads the world at isolating cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment.
As a college of the University of London, the ICR provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner organisations, charities and the general public.
The ICR’s mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer.
For more information visit www.icr.ac.uk