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Posted: February 26, 2009

CombiMatrix Data Demonstrates that Test Can Identify Cancer Early Through Analysis of Blood

(Nanowerk News) CombiMatrix Corporation today announced positive preliminary data on its investigational Comprehensive Cancer Array (CCA) test showing it can non-invasively screen for the early detection of cancer. The study focused on prostate, colon, ovarian, breast, and lung cancers, as these five cancers comprise roughly 85% of all solid tumors in the United States. The results were presented at Cambridge Healthtech Institute's 16th International Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference being held February 25-27, 2009, in San Francisco.
Preliminary data using serum from cancer-free patients and patients with cancer at various stages (stage 1 to stage 4) were presented. CombiMatrix used a comprehensive micro RNA (miRNA, a recently discovered type of nucleic acid) array built on its CustomArray(tm) platform to perform this study. The study's key demonstration was that the miRNA expression patterns, in blood, for patients with cancer (including early stage 1) were dramatically different from patients who were cancer-free. The resulting analysis indicated that a clear distinction could be made between patients with cancer and those without. Results also indicated that identification of the specific cancer was possible. Further data from this and other studies will be presented in the coming months.
"We are very pleased with the initial results of our Comprehensive Cancer Screening test. Early detection is the key to improving survival in cancer patients, and we believe that our non-invasive, blood-based screening test could revolutionize the way cancer is diagnosed and treated." said Dr. Amit Kumar, President and CEO of CombiMatrix. "This test has the potential to provide tremendous benefits to patients as well as significant cost savings in the healthcare system."
While early detection and treatment is proven to improve survival for cancer patients, there are no non-invasive, blood-based early screening tests except for those used in prostate cancer. As a result, patients tend to delay screening tests such as colonoscopies due to their invasive nature, which reduces the likelihood that such cancers will be detected and treated early.
"We believe there is significant market potential for this test," Dr. Kumar, continued. "Candidates for this test include all individuals over 40, those with a history of cancer in the family, as well as those who have been tested to have a high genetic risk of contracting cancer (for example those who are positive using Myriad Genetic's (NASDAQ:MYGN) BRACAnalysis(r) test for breast cancer risk)."
It is anticipated that the test will be ordered annually for patients in the noted categories, or perhaps more frequently. The test is non-invasive, requiring only a blood sample from the patient. The CCA is not designed to identify those who might be at high risk of cancer. The goal of this test is to identify existing cancerous or pre-cancerous growths in individuals at the time of the test and furthermore, to identify the organ system where the growth might be. CombiMatrix hopes to launch the test in 2010 and believes the market opportunity for this single test is in the range of several billion dollars annually in the U.S. alone.
The study, titled "Detection of Cancer with Serum miRNAs on an Oligonucleotide Microarray," was presented as a poster by Dr. Dominic Suciu, Senior Scientist at CombiMatrix. The poster can be viewed at http://investor.combimatrix.com/miRNAPoster.cfm.
Source: CombiMatrix (press release)