Friday, June 27, 2008

Clinical Trial: Blood Test to Screen for Colorectal Cancer

Phenomenome Discoveries, a Saskatoon-based research company, has just made joint announcements with the government of Saskatchewan and the University of Calgary to begin clinical trials of a potential blood marker that would screen for colorectal cancer.  Information about these trials is on the company website.  Here's an excerpt from a newspaper report carried in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:
    "By combining our resources, we're able to proceed with what is the world's largest and most thorough evaluation of colon cancer pathology and metabolic risk factors ever performed in the history of medicine," said Dr. Dayan Goodenowe, CEO of the Saskatoon company.

    Speaking at a Wednesday news conference, he said Phenomenome's research has indicated 90 per cent of people who have colon cancer have a metabolic deficiency. Based on six years of research that involved more than 1,000 people worldwide, the company has developed a highly validated blood test to identify who has the deficiency.
    The two-year trial will begin at the Pasqua and General hospitals [in Regina] and will involve 5,000 patients".
The Alberta trial has a different focus:
    Robert Hilsden, MD, from the University of Calgary is conducting an investigator sponsored clinical trial using Phenomenome's gTA test. This prospective cohort study will be conducted at the Forzani Charities Colon Cancer Screening Centre (CCSC) in Calgary. The study protocol has a two arm design to evaluate average and moderately high risk subjects with no known colon pathology and a smaller sub-study of CRC positive subjects.

    The primary aim of the first component of the study is to assess the diagnostic accuracy of the gTA test in detecting CRC in asymptomatic persons scheduled for a screening colonoscopy based on fecal occult blood results. The second component of the study will focus on the gTA levels of CRC positive subject's pre and post-surgery to determine effects of tumor resection. All study subjects will be followed longitudinally for three years with additional gTA tests and colonoscopies based on the initial results. The goal is to enroll 1300 subject in the first arm of the study and 150 CRC-positive subjects in the second arm of the study.

    This study is scheduled to begin in 2008.
I think it is tremendously exciting to see a very different approach to screening, and to know it's coming from our very own prairie folk.  I say, way to go to everyone involved.

1 comment:

pamjam said...

Phenomenome Discoveries is where I work. And the irony of all of this is that there are ovarian biomarkers that are shared with colorectal cancer. There are days when I wish to hurry up the research, find a cure, please, please, please. But research goes at its own pace. Scientists brew compounds in vats and vials, tests are done, trials remain to be conducted. Chemical bonds, like friendship and love, are formed and broken, reshaped, and tested. But what if we put this atom here instead of here? We talk about backbones of molecules.

I now read science in my spare time. But time continues at its own pace, as does research.