Belgium-based molecular diagnostics provider MDxHealth has entered a scientific agreement with Australia-based Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) commercialisation unit, QUT bluebox, to develop a new liquid biopsy epigenetic test for early detection of oral cancer.
Under the terms of the agreement, MDxHealth and QUT will jointly evaluate and develop the test, while the former will hold the first option to licence the commercial diagnostics rights.
MDxHealth intends to use the proceeds from the commercialisation to support its R&D diagnostics for urologic cancer, as well as additional research and translational activities at QUT and the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI).
MDxHealth CEO Dr Jan Groen said: "A simple and fast point of care test could help dentists to rule out oral cancer while you have your dental check-up.
"This scientific collaboration is an opportunity for both MDxHealth and QUT to leverage existing know-how to develop a ground-breaking oral cancer test that will improve overall survival for thousands of patients."
The epigenetic assay is designed to assess abnormal DNA methylation changes that are believed to be an early occurrence during the progression of the tumour.
QUT School of Biomedical Sciences and Institute of Health and IHBI associate professor Dr Chamindie Punyadeera said: "Our test is expected to facilitate much earlier detection of oral cancer and potentially precancerous lesions by a variety of specialties, including general practitioners, oncologists and dentists.”
Dr Punyadeera, who is also the project’s lead investigator, added that the collected saliva swab samples will be sent to a lab or tested onsite to determine the need for a clinical follow-up.