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Oxford Biodynamics Joins UK Prostate Cancer Screening Trial

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — Oxford Biodynamics (OBD) said today that it will partake in a new trial that is assessing methods for early-stage prostate cancer detection.

The firm's EpiSwitch test for the blood-based diagnosis of prostate cancer will be evaluated as part of the ongoing PROSTAGRAM trial. The Wellcome Trust, The Urology Foundation, and the British Medical Association are funding the trial, which aims to assess a variety of diagnostic approaches for cancer detection, including magnetic resonance imaging and multiparametric ultrasound screening.

Investigators from Imperial College London are leading the PROSTAGRAM trial. According to OBD, the trial has already commenced enrollment and aims to recruit 406 male participants aged between 50 and 60 over the next two years.

OBD's assay is based on six epigenetic markers and is carried out using real-time PCR. The Oxford, UK-based company said it developed the panel across several cohorts of nearly 300 patients. OBD claims its test has a sensitivity of 90 percent and a specificity of 85 percent.

CSO Alexandre Akoulitchev in a statement called OBD's participation in PROSTAGRAM a "significant milestone" for the company. He said the firm is "looking forward to potentially improving the detection of prostate cancer at a curable stage" by participating in the trial.

OBD developed its epigenetic signature with partners at Charing Cross Hospital in London and the University of East Anglia. The company is involved in other biomarker discovery efforts focused on autism, rheumatoid arthritis, sports-related concussions, breast cancer, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to name a few.