OncoMethylome Sciences, Belgium, has granted Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, Burlington, NC an exclusive license on select IP technology for performing commercial MGMT methylation lab testing in the United States and Canada.

OncoMethylome qualifies for an upfront fee, milestone payments, and royalties from LabCorp, whose Esoterix clinical trials services division was tapped as its preferred subcontractor for testing services for the trials.

MGMT methylation is a common event in many cancers and predictive of response to some cancer therapies. Its status may be a promising potential predictor of response to alkylating agent-based chemotherapies used to treat patients with malignant brain tumors.

LabCorp plans to determine MGMT methylation status using methylation-specific PCR technology licensed from its partner.

Because of the potential for broader applications of the oncology marker, the evaluation of MGMT methylation is being integrated into numerous international clinical trials for patients with brain cancer and other cancers. Organizations such as the US-based Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and the European Organization conduct trials for Research and Treatment of Cancer.

Methylation is a natural control mechanism that regulates gene expression. Abnormal methylation of certain genes can silence their expression and those changes may be associated with cancer development and response to cancer therapy. Genes whose methylation is linked to cancer are often called methylation biomarkers.

Methylation biomarkers intended for use in companion diagnostics are associated with response to cancer drug therapy.