NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Despite commercial attempts to develop noninvasive molecular tests that could serve as sentinels against the earliest signs of a developing cancer, there is still little data demonstrating that the most popular strategy— detecting changes in circulating DNA — is possible, let alone practical.
But according to a firm called OTraces, DNA may not be necessary for the sensitive detection of early cancers, at least in some cases. Instead, the company is developing cancer screening tests based on a mathematic strategy of enhancing signals and suppressing noise for a collection of well-known and relatively well-characterized proteins.
Although OTraces has not published any data yet that supports these claims, the firm’s CEO Keith Lingenfelter said this week that assays the firm is currently validating can distinguish patients with prostate or breast cancer more accurately than currently used screening tools — prostate specific antigen (PSA) and mammography, respectively.
The company believes the approach can also differentiate between aggressive and non-aggressive tumors, determine cancer stage, and track progression.
Assays the company is developing for these two cancer types both rely on the analysis of a group of proteins in blood that the firm says offer a proxy for activity that