A Highly Sensitive and Robust Test for Early Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis

Type of Award: accelerator
Award Number: A-001
Award Period: July 2018 - June 2019
Amount Awarded: $ 100,000.00
PI(s): Chuan He, UChicago;

Abstract: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. CRC patients with unresectable metastasis have less than 15% five-year survival, whereas cure rates for colon cancers diagnosed at earlier stages are higher. Early detection and prevention, using colonoscopy, is still a challenge since compliance for eligible individuals remains below 50%.

DNA cytosine modification is a well-established epigenetic mechanism that affects global gene expression and is extensively remodeled during cancer development and progression. DNA 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and 5- hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) serve as promising disease markers as aberrant patterns in their genomic locations and abundances correlate with disease development and progression.

We have developed a blood-based assay that uses a highly sensitive and selective chemical labeling technology to capture 5hmC/5mC in cell-free DNA, followed by next generation sequencing to map their distributions. Our test compares favorably to other available assays at a lower cost with anticipated much higher and friendlier patient compliance.