New technology for rapid cancer diagnosis with the potential to quickly and easily detect cancer has been cleared for further development.
Methylscape technology that uses gold sensors to determine whether 3D cancerous DNA nanostructures are present in blood or biopsy tissue was developed at the University of Queensland. Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).
UQ’s marketing company UniQuest negotiated the license agreement with the American start-up aiGENE Inc.
AIBN Director Professor Alan Rowan said the technology was exciting.
“It’s simple, quick and could potentially be used in a wide range of cancers,” he said.
“Cancer DNA has different physicochemical properties in solution compared to the DNA of normal cells.
“These differences allow cancer DNA to bind more strongly to a gold surface, and this stronger binding can be used to differentiate cancer samples from normal samples.”
US entrepreneur and aiGENE Founder and CEO Dr Floyd Taub said methylation has recently become one of the most interesting and informative methods of DNA analysis.
“Methylscape is a unique approach to epigenetic analysis,” said Dr. Taub.
“Using the methodology of physical chemistry, AIBN researchers evaluated the genome-wide methylation pattern and developed a simple, fast and inexpensive method of DNA analysis.
“It is suitable for low and high resource laboratories and for low and high throughput cancer diagnostic settings.”
“AiGENE intends to develop a blood test to diagnose all cancers early and another for cancer patients receiving treatment to determine if this treatment is effectively killing their single cancer – or if treatment needs to be adjusted.
“To do this, the company intends to partner with research institutes, diagnostic companies and early stage investors.
“It’s also great that UniQuest has introduced aiGENE to its network of investors in Australia, as we want to establish a presence in Australia for our operations. “
In 1984, Dr. Taub founded Digene, the first company to develop and market a nucleic acid (DNA) test to diagnose or screen for any cancer.
UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss was delighted to see the project take this next step.
“It is great to see this exciting UQ technology licensed to an entrepreneur with extensive experience in the scientific industry and a proven track record in molecular diagnostics,” said Dr Moss.
“Methylscape is simple and elegant with many possible applications and we are eager for aiGENE to commercialize this technology. “
Methylscape technology is the subject of a patent application filed by UniQuest. The inventors are Professor Matt Trau, Dr Laura Garcia Carrascosa and Dr Abu Sina.
The initial research was published in Nature Communication.
Media: Esther Haskell, UniQuest Communications, [email protected], +61 7 3365 7480, +61 409 767 199.