At Phenomenome Discoveries, our passion for disease prevention doesn’t stop once we commercialize a product. We work every day to advance our commercial products, and to discover prodromal imbalances in new diseases. Below is a snapshot of our current research portfolio.
Fecal and colonoscopy-based screening tests for colorectal cancer have poor compliance because people do not want to do the tests. Furthermore, these tests only work if there is already sufficient tumor burden to produce a positive result. Our flagship product, the Cologic® blood test, identifies elevated risk for colorectal cancer based on the levels of a protective metabolite, GTA-446, in the blood. The test is currently available in Canada. Our current research in colorectal cancer focuses on how GTA-446 deficiency causes cancer, and how to restore it to normal in deficient subjects.
Pancreatic cancer has a high mortality rate because it is usually diagnosed at a very late stage. There are no screening tests or other methods to identify pancreatic cancer risk. We also know little about why, or how, pancreatic cancer develops. Our PanaSee™ test is the first test that can identify elevated risk of pancreatic cancer based on the levels of a metabolite, PC-594, in the blood. We are currently performing the final clinical and analytical validation, and expect it to be available to consumers across Canada in the fall of 2014. Our ongoing research is focused on understanding how a PC-594 deficiency leads to pancreatic cancer, and how to restore its levels in deficient subjects.
Like pancreatic cancer, there are currently no screening tests for ovarian cancer, and the five-year survival is less than 50%. Our metabolomics technology identified several metabolic imbalances in the blood of ovarian cancer patients compared to control subjects. We have validated these markers in two large, independent sample populations, with a blood test available to the public in 2016.
The major unmet clinical need with prostate cancer is accurately predicting aggressiveness. In our initial work, we discovered a specific metabolic imbalance in lysophospholipids in men with prostate cancer. Our focus now is to determine whether the imbalance correlates with aggressiveness.
Gastric cancer incidence rates are higher in Japan and other Asian countries than the rest of the world. Although there are serological indicators of chronic gastritis, there are no reliable biomarkers for detecting risk of malignant disease. Using our metabolomics platform, we discovered a metabolic imbalance in the serum of Japanese gastric cancer patients. We are currently filing the patents and working with our Japanese collaborators to further validate and develop a risk-based screening test.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer)
Although liver cancer, or primary hepatocellular carcinoma, is associated with hepatitis B and cirrhosis, population-based screening programs lag behind programs for other cancers. There is a clinical need for a simple test that would identify, regardless of hepatitis or other factors, who is at risk for developing liver cancer. Our metabolomics discovery studies in liver cancer are complete, with very robust metabolic differences observed between patients with liver cancer and healthy controls. We are currently writing patents and working with our collaborators in Japan to further develop a risk screening test.