Breakthroughs in early detection of cancer offer increasing hope for better outcomes and longer lives for individuals affected by malignancies. This year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting highlighted strong results from several companies at the forefront of this potential transformation.
In the flurry of presentations on early detection of cancer at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, Grail LLC stood out for the number of sessions and the strength of its results. In a real-world study presented, Grail’s Galleri multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test cancer signal origin (CSO) demonstrated accuracy of 91%.
Creo Medical Group plc says it is poised to address the mismatch between the advances in screening technology, which are making it possible to detect early-stage lung cancer, and the current invasive and inappropriate methods of treating it, following the first-in-human use of its Microblate Flex microwave ablation device.
The 2023 American Society for Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting featured several notable developments on the diagnostics side, including significant advances in multi-cancer early detection (MCED). Grail Inc. presented its results from SYMPLIFY, the first major study of its MCED test in symptomatic patients. The test showed a negative predictive value of more than 97% and a positive predictive value that exceeded 75% in individuals who presented to primary care with non-specific symptoms that prompted a referral for cancer evaluation.
A study of more than a thousand tumor samples, led by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, gives valuable insight into the different gene expression patterns seen in different cancers. The new findings could help address challenges associated with targeting many types of tumors, which are hard to treat in large part due to the variable nature of their cells and gene expression patterns, by helping to create better targeted therapeutics.
If Orlucent Inc. has its way atypical moles in adults will soon give up their secrets to clinicians on the lookout for skin cancer, this after the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company received a U.S. FDA breakthrough device designation for its non-invasive Orlucent skin fluorescence imaging system. The system is a hand-held point-of-care molecular-based imaging device that identifies “tissue remodeling activity” inside atypical moles that could be a precursor to early melanoma.
The U.S. FDA has issued a final guidance for non-clinical performance testing for tissue containment bags used during power morcellation procedures, and the FDA had recommended in 2020 containment bags always be used during morcellation procedures. Despite the FDA’s advisory, a survey of surgeons published last year suggested that most of these procedures are not done with these containment systems, possibly because the rate of procedure-related complications is considerably higher when containment is used.
Freenome Inc. has acquired U.K.-based immunodiagnostics developer Oncimmune Ltd. for £13 million (US$16 million), in a move that bolsters Freenome’s frontline early cancer detection efforts. While Freenome has been largely focused on getting the U.S. FDA’s nod for its colorectal cancer test, Oncimmune already has a CE-IVD marked EarlyCDT Lung blood test, an autoantibody platform and an R&D pipeline of over seven cancer detection signals.
Barely a month and a half after its radioconjugate approach landed a potential $1.7 billion deal with Novartis AG, Bicycle Therapeutics plc drew another big radiopharma player to the table, signing a collaboration agreement with Bayer AG to use Bicycle’s peptide technology to discover and develop radiotherapies against cancer targets. Terms are similar to the Novartis deal, with Bayer paying $45 million up front and Bicycle eligible for development and commercial milestones totaling up to $1.7 billion, and underline the growing interest in the radiopharma space.
A method for parallel sequencing of single-cell extrachromosomal circular DNA (ecDNA) and full-length mRNA transcriptomes has enabled new insights into the roles of ecDNA in cancer progression, researchers from Charité hospital and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine reported in Nature Genetics on May 8, 2023. Circular DNAs are present in at least a third of cancer cells, and their presence correlates with poor prognosis in many cases. They can carry driver genes that have separated themselves from their chromosome of origin, and some research suggests that they serve as “reserve copies” of driver genes. Boundless Bio Inc. is in phase I trials targeting ecDNAs.