Simple blood test to improve cancer outcomes

Cancer patients could be able to select and adapt their treatments based on a simple blood test that is being developed in partnership between QIMR Berghofer and Swiss start-up Biopsomic.

Head of QIMR Berghofer’s Tumour Microenvironment Research Group, Associate Professor Andreas Möller said if the research is successful it would boost the chances of more effective treatment for cancer patients.

“At the moment, clinicians have no reliable way of predicting whether a particular patient will respond better to chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or any other therapy.

“This blood test could quickly and accurately indicate the most effective treatment for an individual patient,” Associate Professor Möller said.

The test is being developed to read the content of exosomes. These exosomes are tiny, fluid-filled sacs that are shed by tumour cells into the blood of patients. They are essentially miniature blueprints of what is contained in the cancer cells.

“These exosomes offer insight into how cancer cells will likely behave. If their contents suggest a person’s cancer cells will not respond to a given therapy, then their clinician can explore more effective alternatives,” Associate Professor Möller said.

Biopsomic’s co-founder and co-inventor of the test, Dr Antoine Leimgruber MD says the medical decision process in managing cancer patients needs to improve.

“Patients are exposed to stressful and sometimes invasive diagnostic procedures that are not easily repeated. They deserve a new generation of minimally invasive, less expensive and accurate tests to allow their doctors to take the right decision at the right time for the specific situation of each patient.

“Biopsomic technology contributes to personalised cancer management, a shift from the one-size fits all rule to improve each patient outcome and avoid non-useful and potentially harmful interventions,” Dr Leimgruber said.

Under the licensing and option agreement, QIMR Berghofer will also conduct collaborative research with Biopsomic. The terms of the agreement are commercial in confidence.

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