Newly Released Cancer Diagnostic Tests in Europe

Liver cancer MET4 mutation test pharmdxrx

(RxWiki News) For many cancer researchers, the holy grail is the big jump from years of painstaking laboratory research to a final product that helps cancer patients.

A new partnership between Dako cancer diagnostics and the Van Andel Research Institute accomplished that goal, licensing their technology that identifies a common cancer mutation, helping patients get the best treatment for their cancer.

"Ask your oncologist about genetic testing."

This test will be part of Dako's pharmDxTM kit, which is currently used by pathologists to quickly evaluate biopsies of cancers for common genetic mutations.

Currently based in Denmark, Dako offers several of these tests in Europe for many types of cancer mutations such as c-kit, EGFR, TOP2A, MET, ER, PR and HER2.

Identifying mutations targeted by new drugs is important, since advanced cancer drugs targeting specific changes in these cancers generally have fewer side effects and greater success than general cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

The most important identified use of MET mutations is for liver cancers. Many drugs have been developed that target one liver cancer growth pathway, called  hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF-MET pathway).

While currently most important to liver cancer patients, other studies in progress, published on the Van Andel Institute's website, may link the MET mutation to more than 30 other cancers.

"MET is a very important target in the development of anti-cancer drugs," stated Van Andel Institute CEO, David Van Andel. "It is gratifying to see efforts translated from the lab to the clinical setting where they can have an immediate impact on human health."

"Studies have shown that targeting MET signaling can have potent antitumor effects, and it is therefore important to identify patient subgroups most likely to benefit from MET-targeted therapies," according to George Vande Woude, PhD, current research director for the Van Andel Research Institute. 

"The quality of the MET4 Antibody is superb, and it faithfully reports the amount of MET in single cancer cells," stated Beatrice Knudsen, MD/PhD, lead researcher in the original MET4 team at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "It will provide an extremely valuable tool for pathologists and as a companion diagnostic to determine the best treatment for cancer patients."

The announcement for licensing was made on May 16, 2012.

The test relies on previous research demonstrating how to use MET4 antibodies to detect various cancers, which was published in the journal Applied Immunohistochemistry & Molecular Morphology in October 2011.

The licensing is a partnership between the Van Andel Research Institute and Dako cancer diagnostics, which is owned by private equity fund EQT.

Review Date: 
June 2, 2012