Treatment Selection for Lung Cancer Non-responders via PGA, A cfmRNA-Based Test | by OncoDxRx | Jan, 2024

Using a new technology developed at OncoDxRx, treating lung cancer could become as easy as taking a blood test that reveals which drugs the patient is likely responding to. The new lung cancer diagnostic platform combines cell-free mRNA (cfmRNA)-based gene expression signature — that can be analyzed via a digital computation, with multiple databases to screen, match, and classify the most effective drugs.

OncoDxRx’s team suggested the technology, known as PGA (Patient-derived Gene expression-informed Anticancer drug efficacy), could potentially supplement the current gold standard for lung cancer treatment decision-making, and could have an especially significant impact in low- and middle-income countries that don’t have widespread availability of NGS biomarker testing.

“We were really pushing this assay to be point-of-patient available in a low-resource setting, so the idea was to not do any complex processing, not do any expensive bioinformatics, just to be able to put the sample right on the qPCR instrument and read it out in 5 days,” said OncoDxRx.

OncoDxRX’s team suggested the technology could also feasibly be applied to other cancer types. “Through the integration of different technological components, we have established a noninvasive liquid biopsy approach to accurately treat lung cancer that would not require trained testing personnel, a long duration treatment, or centralized diagnostic laboratories … the high modularity of PGA enables low-cost, rapid delivery of drug efficacy results to individual patient”.

“Where available, targeted therapy or immunotherpay has been the standard of care to treat lung cancer, and this practice has left out an approximately 70 to 80% patients due to their ineligibility (negative biomarker testing),” the company wrote.

OncoDxRx has spent the recent years developing cfmRNA gene expression for use in managing cancer and other diseases.

The PGA platform consists of cfmRNA panel of multiple biomarkers that are involved in major cancer pathways. Some biomarkers are commonly overactive in tumors. The patient-derived gene expression signature eventually matches to the corresponding cancer drugs.

For lung cancer theranostics the researchers wanted to create a version that could be qPCR-based, which could make it easier to deploy in lower resource settings (like Covid-19 testing).

“When we developed this technology our goal was to provide a method that can detect cancer with high specificity and sensitivity, and also lower the threshold for accessibility, so that hopefully we can improve the resource disparity and inequity in precision treatment of lung cancer,” OncoDxRx explained.

Summarizing their technology, the team concluded, “This work established PGA as a point-of-patient theranostic platform that integrates liquid biopsy cfmRNA biomarkers and multiplex gene expression signature to match and identify, in a noninvasive manner with low-infrastructure needs, effective cancer drugs.”

In patients with limited treatment options, the PGA technology could offer a dramatic improvement in personalized lung cancer therapy, especially since the results can be obtained during a single visit.

“The idea would be you come in and then you get an answer about alternative treatment options if not qualified for targeted therapy or immunotherapy, and we could get patients into the system immediately so that they could get the right lifesaving medicines,” OncoDxRx says.

OncoDxRx’s scientists concluded that PGA is primarily used to stratify patients and help clinicians select the best course of treatment. “PGA may also enable efforts to improve risk stratification of early lesions to determine the clinical selection of follow-up procedures … We envision that by releasing PGA, we may enable feasible surveillance testing, eg., MRD, that would identify a disease when it is still easy to treat.”

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