EKF and Massachusetts General Hospital announce research collaboration

Sept. 24, 2014

EKF Diagnostics has entered into a two-year research collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), to develop PointMan assays that can effectively detect treatable cancer mutations in blood samples. The collaboration agreement has been signed following a detailed evaluation of PointMan DNA enrichment technology by MGH and will cover a two-year long project focusing on lung, breast, and skin cancer.

MGH will use PointMan DNA enrichment technology for the detection of genetic variation in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) isolated from a patient’s blood using MGH’s CTC-Chip instrument. CTCs are shed by primary tumors, allowing the cancer to metastasize. CTCs are extremely rare in whole blood and their isolation and characterization could offer clinicians a routine method with which to diagnose, treat, and monitor the progress of various cancers. The main difficulties in successfully analyzing CTCs have centered around detecting low-level mutations sufficiently and creating assays that are sensitive enough to provide meaningful data—difficulties which PointMan may be able to effectively overcome.

EKF Molecular will design and develop high-sensitivity assays which will be utilized by MGH with a view to clinically validating PointMan in the detection of existing and novel mutations, a major step toward the improvement of patient outcomes in the hospital.

“The results of an initial assessment, and now this collaboration, move us even closer to the routine use of blood-based tests for cancer rather than a tissue biopsy,” says Andrew Webb, CEO of EKF Molecular Diagnostics Ltd. “The combination of MGH’s CTC-Chip instrument and PointMan technology should make this approach to cancer detection and monitoring available, ultimately, to the majority of molecular testing laboratories.” Read more about PointMan DNA enrichment technology.

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