VolitionRx Limited will present recent results from its pilot lung cancer study at the Science for Business BioWin Day 2014, in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
Lung cancers are currently diagnosed when patients exhibit symptoms of impaired lung function. However, early detection methods for early-stage lung cancer, the time-frame when most tumors are treatable, are necessary. This is particularly important for high-risk patients, as such, this group is recommended to perform low-dose computed tomography scans (LDCT) according to the guidelines of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO).
VolitionRx’s pilot lung cancer study tested both blood and sputum samples from a total of 46 patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and compared them to those of healthy individuals. Researchers then performed the NuQ test, which consists of a Nucleosomics platform that measures the presence of cancer-epigenetic markers in blood and sputum samples.
The NuQ test identified the presence of lung cancer in 85% of blood samples and in 76% of sputum samples; additionally, the test was capable of distinguishing between lung cancer and COPD; a single false-positive result was detected only in the sputum samples of one healthy individual.
These results suggest that the Nucleosomics technology can detect and distinguish both early and late lung cancer stages, with high sensitivity and specificity. Further studies, with an increased number of samples are necessary to confirm these preliminary results.
Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Jacob Micallef, Ph.D., noted in a news release, “Detection of lung cancer is a huge unmet medical need, so these data demonstrating, in a small number of subjects, that our NuQ® assays are able to detect lung cancer with high accuracy are extremely promising. Furthermore, this research showing NuQ® tests work both in blood and airway secretions demonstrates for the first time that the Nucleosomics® technology is useful in a body fluid other than blood, greatly extending its potential applications. We look forward to continuing to develop and evaluate our assays for lung cancer in larger trials that we are currently negotiating.”
Renaud Louis, Head of the Pneumology Department, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU), Liège added, “These data appear to be very promising as the NuQ® test not only differentiated lung cancer from healthy subjects but also from COPD, another disease related to tobacco consumption in which oxidative stress is supposed to play a major role. On the other hand, I find it very interesting that analysis of airway secretion sampled by a non-invasive method may yield such a sensitivity and specificity in lung cancer detection.”