I first came across Pathwork Dx at ASCO last month when they presented an interesting poster on their tissue of origin gene based expression test to help in the diagnosis of poorly differentiated and metastatic tumours. Clearly, an accurate diagnosis will lead to better optimisation of appropriate therapy and risk assessment/management. The tissue based test has since received approval from the FDA.
According to Pathwork:
"The Tissue of Origin LDT uses a combination of microarray technology and advanced analytics to measure the gene expression patterns (comprising more than 1500 genes) of challenging tumors, including poorly differentiated, undifferentiated, and metastatic cancer. These data are compared with the gene expression patterns of a panel of 15 known tissue types—representing 58 morphologies and covering 90% of solid tumors—in order to identify the tumor."
The tissue test is based on gene arrays using DNA and RNA technology used in research, but with its approval, we will start to see more commercial applications evolve for diagnostic purposes.
More details about the deal and the financial background can be found in the WSJ.
What's interesting here is that:
1) We are seeing more sophisticated technology emerge for both tissue and blood biomarkers, which will hopefully help us improve not only diagnosis but also treatment and monitoring of drug responses over time.
2) More integration and collaborations between manufacturers and diagnostic companies means that the information and knowledge can be shared more easily and quickly rather than being bogged down in silos.
3) The companies that do well with integrating diagnostics into their cancer programs will not only have a huge commercial edge, but it will continue to raise the bar for new competitors and smaller companies in terms of funding and resources.
It's going to be fascinating watching this area of oncology develop.