A Proof-of-Concept study of VarCT Diagnostics’ technology for cancer diagnostics has been published in Nature Communications

Today a ground-breaking article demonstrating the potential of rVAR2-based isolation of Circulating Tumour Cells for diagnosis of multiple types of cancer was published in Nature Communications.

The current methods for CTCs isolation are limited by insufficient specificity and sensitivity, which have challenged clinical implementation. The study published today, shows that the VAR2CSA malaria protein, which binds specifically to a pan-cancer cell surface marker called oncofetal chondroitin sulfate (ofCS), can be used to overcome this challenge. The results of the present study demonstrate that CTCs from patients with pancreatic, hepatic, and lung cancer can be specifically isolated from blood samples using the VAR2CSA approach. A good correlation between stage of the disease (I to IV) and the number of CTCs in the blood was demonstrated in a prostate cancer patient cohort. An important conclusion of the study is that VAR2CSA captures larger and more diverse populations of CTCs than current CTC isolation methods, suggesting that VAR2CSA-based CTC capturing can be reliably used for diagnosis and monitoring of ofCS-positive cancers. In addition, the data support the use of ofCS-targeted therapeutics as a novel treatment regimen for metastatic cancers.

“This is a big leap towards our ultimate goal to develop a method that can be used universally for early cost-effective detection and screening of cancer. We will now continue our work by expanding the research into other cancer forms and in parallel discuss with potential commercial partners how best to make this method available to doctors and patients across the globe”, says CEO Ali Salanti.

Publication: M. Ø. Agerbæk, S. R. Bang-Christensen, M-H Yang, T. M. Clausen, M. A. Pereira, S. Sharma, S. B. Ditlev, M. A. Nielsen, S. Choudhary, T. Gustavsson, P. H. Sorensen, T. Meyer, D. Propper, J. Shamash, T. G. Theander, A. Aicher, M. Daugaard, C. Heeschen, and A. Salanti. The VAR2CSA malaria protein efficiently retrieves circulating tumor cells in an EpCAM-independent manner.  Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05793-2 (http://www.nature.com/ncomms).