UK-based biotechnology company Oxford BioDynamics has partnered with Imperial College London to test its EpiSwitch biomarker assay in the PROSTAGRAM trial for prostate cancer diagnosis.
EpiSwitch is designed to discover, evaluate, validate and monitor epigenetic biomarkers called chromosome conformation signatures, which help analyse genome changes.
It is intended to expedite drug discovery and development, as well as enhance the success rate of therapeutic development. The technology is also said to allow personalisation of medications.
The PROSTAGRAM trial is being conducted to investigate various diagnostic methods for prostate cancer screening. It is led by Imperial College London and funded by the Wellcome Trust, TUF and BMA.
As part of the partnership, Oxford BioDynamics will assess PROSTAGRAM subjects using EpiSwitch for the blood-based diagnosis of prostate cancer. The biomarker assay is based on six epigenetic systemic blood-based markers.
PROSTAGRAM has already commenced enrolment and is expected to involve a total of 406 subjects.
Oxford BioDynamics chief scientific officer Alexandre Akoulitchev said: “We are looking forward to contributing our EpiSwitch blood-based readouts to the comprehensive evaluation of these trial participants.
“We are delighted to join forces with a team of world-leading experts in prostate cancer, and looking forward to potentially improving the detection of prostate cancer at a curable stage by aiding in the development of prostate cancer screening programme.”
EpiSwitch has been developed across multiple cohorts of more than 290 patients with varying disease stages and is said to have demonstrated consistent sensitivity and specificity of around 80% during three blinded validations.
Oxford BioDynamics noted that prostate cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death in men. The cancer is responsible for more than 11,000 deaths annually in the UK.