MelaSeq

The Problem

  • Approximately, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
  • Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and is 3-4x more common in Australia compared to the US and UK.
  • Diagnosed early, treatment is simple, inexpensive and curative, despite this, it remains the leading cause of cancer death in young people (20-39yrs).
  • Screening guidelines are inconsistent and rely on subjective methods that have failed to reduce the mortality rate.
  • There are currently no specific blood tests available to diagnose or monitor melanoma progression and unlike most other cancer types, the mortality rate has INCREASED by 33% since the 1980s.
  • Finally, over A$800 million is spent on skin cancer procedures and treatment every year, more than any other cancer type.

Source: https://www.sunsmart.com.au/skin-cancer/skin-cancer-facts-stats

 

The conclusion from the largest ever study of melanoma diagnostic accuracy, performed by  Dr. Joann Elmore at the University of Washington School of Medicine Seattle was:

Diagnoses spanning moderately dysplastic nevi to early stage invasive melanoma [are] neither reproducible nor accurateEfforts to improve clinical practice should include using a standardized classification system, acknowledging uncertainty in pathology reports, and developing tools such as molecular markers to support pathologists’ visual assessments. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) June  2017;


The Solution

Melaseq is being developed as an affordable genomic blood-test which will assist doctors to diagnose and stage melanoma more accurately. The test measures circulating microRNAs, which are a recently-discovered class of genes that exist outside of cells and can be used to differentiate between healthy and cancerous states.

The Melaseq laboratory process is highly automated and based on a globally-available technology platform.

 

  • Combining an ‘internal’ assessment of disease state with existing imaging methods could reduce both over-diagnosis and mortality rates.
  • MelaSeq may also be useful for measuring response to surgery or chemo/immuno/biological-therapy, predicting prognosis/outcome or as an early sign of disease recurrence.