UK working with 20/20 GeneSystems

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 15, 2005) − The University of Kentucky has granted exclusive rights to 20/20 GeneSystems Inc. (20/20) for a new blood test that has shown exceptional accuracy for the early detection and screening of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Working with the UK team, the company 20/20 intends to develop a diagnostic that would help identify lung cancer in smokers, former smokers and other at-risk individuals at its earliest, most effectively treatable stages.

Edward Hirschowitz, M.D., and Li Zhong, Ph.D., of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, UK Chandler Medical Center, along with several associates, have identified multiple antibodies that the body's immune system produces in response to lung cancer development. The presence and amounts of these antibodies in the blood predict NSCLC with better than 90 percent accuracy, including at very early stages of the disease. NSCLC comprises approximately 80 percent of all lung cancers.

Part of this research was reported in the November 2005 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society. While the published work primarily involved samples from patients with advanced disease, subsequent tests on blood from persons with early-stage lung cancer detected cancerous nodules several years before they were identified using advanced CT scans. This new data directed to early detection and screening is expected to be presented in early 2006 to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Early Detection Research Network.

According to the NCI, 160,000 people die each year from lung cancer, making it the number one cause of cancer death in America. Smoking is the primary cause of the disease. Only 25 percent of new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed at an early stage, when curative surgery is possible.

With the biomarkers identified by the UK team, 20/20 plans to create a screening test for the early de

Contact: Louise DuPont
University of Kentucky

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