A rapid and reliable diagnostic test to predict adverse reactions in radiotherapy patients

About

The Problem

There are approximately 300,000 new diagnoses of cancer in the UK each year. Radiotherapy is an important form of treatment of both local and regional disease with ~50% of cancer patients receiving radiotherapy at some stage during treatment, either as monotherapy or in combination with surgery, chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy.

However, about 15-20% (~30,000) of all radiotherapy patients experience some level of adverse side effects which remains a limiting factor in the treatment of cancer. A minority of patient experience unexpectedly severe tissue toxicity after radiotherapy and such patients are called ‘over-reactors’ in which case radiotherapy is potentially life-threatening.

The Solution

Brunel has developed a rapid and reliable diagnostic test to predict side effects in radiotherapy patients. The assay measures DNA damage and repair in blood lymphocytes from cancer patients exposed to gamma radiation.

Application

There is significant published data which indicates that patients with defective or reduced DNA repair capacity are a risk of dramatic side effects after radiotherapy (RT). For decades, clinical and experimental oncologists have sought a reliable and predictive test for RT responses. A number of candidate tests have been proposed but are complex and difficult to carry out. However, with the greater understanding of the mechanisms of DNA repair pathways, novel biomarkers have been identified which lend themselves to reliable and simple diagnostic procedures.

A recent development of the diagnostic is the use of imaging flow cytometry. This highly novel technique captures images of every cell in flow which will enable a greater level of test sensitivity.

Benefits

Those patients who demonstrate a potentially highly adverse reaction to radiotherapy, possibly a fatal reaction, can explore other treatment alternatives.

Opportunity

Brunel is seeking development partners to bring the idea to market.

IP Status

Most IP is in the practical development of the method; patent protection is being investigated.

 

Key Benefits

Identify patients who demonstrate a potentially highly adverse reaction to radiotherapy, possibly a fatal reaction, in order that they can explore other treatment alternatives.

Applications

Screening of cancer patients prior to radiotherapy treatment to reduce risk of severe adverse reactions.

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