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Molecular diagnostics to improve esophageal cancer detection raising $500K

A molecular diagnostics company developing a test to predict the likelihood that people with Barrett’s esophagus have of developing esophageal cancer is raising $500,000, according to a form D filing with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission. If successful, the new test could have  broad applicability across multiple cancer types. A statement from investor Ben Franklin […]

A molecular diagnostics company developing a test to predict the likelihood that people with Barrett’s esophagus have of developing esophageal cancer is raising $500,000, according to a form D filing with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission. If successful, the new test could have  broad applicability across multiple cancer types.

A statement from investor Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, an economic development agency that provided $100,000 in follow-on funding last week, said Danville, Pennsylvania-based Cernostics would use the investment to validate the diagnostic and prognostic test.  It is continuing to refine biomarkers, finish software development using biopsy specimens and clinical data from Geisinger Health System.

Cernostics seeks to replace the manual, subjective test that is currently used with one that uses a “spatial systems biology approach” to anatomic pathological testing. Among the shortcomings of the test that’s currently available are false negatives and failing to detect dysplasia, or abnormal cell structures.

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Esophageal cancer has one of the highest mortality rates among cancers, and 13,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. Risk stratification is difficult for clinicians.

Cernostics will continue to develop this molecular diagnostic test with biopsy specimens and clinical data from Geisinger Health System in order to select and refine biomarkers and complete software development.

University of Pennsylvania received $8 million last year from the National Cancer Institute to establish a translational research network to investigate the causes of Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that can be a precursor to esophageal cancer. It’s sharing the grant with the Mayo Clinic and Columbia University.

Cernostics spun out of Cellumen, a Pittsburgh-based life science company, in 2010.

[Photo from: 89studio]