GeneNews Limited, Ontario, Canada, which develops blood-based biomarker tests for early detection of diseases and personalized health management, has introduced ColonSentry™, a blood-based molecular test for colorectal cancer screening.

The test assesses a patient’s risk of having colorectal cancer and identifies those in the asymptomatic general population with increased risk who might benefit from further, more invasive diagnostic testing, such as colonoscopy. It requires a simple blood sample.

"The launch of ColonSentry represents a leap forward in the way we currently screen for colorectal cancer,” said Lawrence Cohen, MD, director of gastroenterology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. “By using this risk-assessment tool as the first step in a regular screening program, information obtained with ColonSentry will result in better decision-making by doctors and their patients regarding next steps in the colorectal cancer-screening process and ultimately help identify the presence of this cancer in patients at a curable stage."

The risk-stratification approach fosters a more targeted application of colonoscopy, which could increase the detection rate of colorectal cancer by as much as threefold in an asymptomatic general population. The mRNA expression of a panel of seven specific genes is measured at the molecular level by quantitative RT-PCR, which results in an assessment of a patient’s current risk.

The test will be performed at the company’s lab facilities in Canada and is the first in a series of blood-based molecular tests based on its Sentinel Principle™ platform technology.

"A patient-friendly blood test like ColonSentry is welcomed and can certainly contribute to increased compliance with screening programs,” said Barry D. Stein, president of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. “This will facilitate earlier detection and treatment of the disease, resulting in improved outcomes for patients with colorectal cancer."

The company plans to introduce the test in the Toronto area, then roll it out to Asia, the United States, and Europe. For more information on the test, visit the company’s Web site, or call (877) 436-3639.  

GeneNews concentrates on the application of functional genomics to enable early diagnosis and personalized therapeutic intervention based on disease-specific biomarkers.