Collaboration to improve colon cancer treatment

 2nd Mar 2015

EKF Diagnostics Holdings plc (AIM: EKF), the AIM listed point-of-care, central laboratory and molecular diagnostics business, announces a major 18 month collaboration in the US, using the Company’s PrecisionPath™ technology to provide genetic profiles of cancer tumours, which, if successful, will lead to greatly improved treatment decisions for colon cancer patients.

The collaboration brings together EKF’s subsidiary Selah Genomics; Greenville Health Systems, one of the leading cancer institutes in the US; DecisionQ Corporation; and Becton Dickinson and Company, with the aim of creating a new way for community doctors to decide on the most effective treatments for colon cancer using the latest next generation sequencing technology as well as artificial intelligence-based decision support algorithms.

In the US, as many as 60 per cent of all cancer patients with solid tumours do not respond to first-line treatment, resulting in further treatment cycles, higher costs, elevated toxicity and, most importantly, lost time. The collaboration is designed to create a unique personalised approach to cancer treatment whereby doctors can have more certainty over prescribing the most effective treatment for each individual patient.

Over the 18 month period, EKF’s PrecisionPath™ will be used to determine the genetic profiles of tumour samples provided by the Institute for Translational Oncology Research, which is part of Greenville Health Systems’ Cancer Institute. At the same time DecisionQ will employ its advanced machine-learning platform to integrate the genetic profile data with existing clinical annotations and the known outcomes of the patient samples to validate the treatment indicated by the genetic profiling. If the results successfully correlate, then this will help validate EKF’s PrecisionPath™   product in being able to improve clinical decisions related to the treatment of colon cancer patients.

The research project is being funded in part by Becton Dickinson who have first rights to license the technology should the collaboration be a success. After the initial collaboration, a clinical trial is planned to validate the research and affirm the effectiveness of the new system as a clinical decision support tool for community based doctors.

Julian Baines, CEO of EKF, commented: "The success of this collaboration holds huge potential for changing the way in which cancer treatments can be prescribed. This is an exciting prospect which now has the backing of Becton Dickinson and the support of Greenville Health Systems as one of the most respected cancer institute in the US. PrecisonPath™ is one of a number of molecular initiatives which EKF is working on and which we believe will contribute to a leading suite of therapy enabling diagnostics products.”

Download this announcement as a PDF here.