VolitionRx Limited, a life sciences company developing blood-based diagnostic tests for different types of cancer, has announced a collaboration study with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology.
MD Anderson researchers will use VolitionRx’s NuQ® assay to distinguish anaplastic prostate cancer, an aggressive form of prostate cancer, from castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).
Anaplastic prostate cancers represent 20-30% of all lethal prostate cancers, and are defined as a subset similar to small cell prostate carcinomas, usually not detected during the initial diagnosis but appearing during the castration-resistant progression of the disease.
This subtype of prostate cancer is usually linked to an increased aggressiveness and resistance to common prostate cancer treatments, usually requiring early rounds of chemotherapy.
For these reasons, the necessity of an objective and efficient non-invasive molecular marker that could allow early identification of anaplastic prostate carcinomas is crucial.
The assay that will be assessed by MD Anderson Researchers, NuQ®, is based on VolitionRx’s proprietary Nucleosomics® technology, which measures and identifies nucleosome structures in the blood, the basic units of DNA packaging, consisting of a DNA segment wound in sequence around eight histone protein cores.
The clinical study will analyze serum samples obtained from patients who have participated in two previous clinical trials, a Phase II study of carboplatin plus docetaxel in patients with anaplastic prostate carcinoma, which included men with CRPC who met one of seven anaplastic clinical criteria; and a prospective randomized Phase III trial that compared consolidation therapy with or without Strontium-89 after chemotherapy in androgen independent prostate cancer patients, which included unselected men with non-anaplastic CRPC.
Researchers will use the NuQ® assay to identify specific histone modifications in circulating nucleosomes, which can indicate which subtype of cancer is present.
“Partnering with MD Anderson, which is consistently rated in U.S. News & World Report’s ”Best Hospitals” survey as the leading US hospital for cancer care, is a unique and significant opportunity. If our NuQ® tests can identify objective molecular markers for anaplastic prostate carcinomas, there could be exciting potential for the tests to advance our understanding of the disease process and improve patient outcomes. This is another clear milestone for our company, as we continue to make solid progress on executing our strategy of broadening our trials beyond colorectal cancer”, Dr. Jason Terrell MD, Chief Medical Officer at VolitionRx stated in a company’s press release.