A joint effort by South Korean and Pfizer scientists may lead to new diagnostic tests for lung cancer. According to a press release by Pfizer, a global pharmaceutical manufacturer based in New York, a new test currently under development can cheaply and quickly identify patients who may be able to benefit from Xalkori, a lung cancer drug. Details about their work are available in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.
According to information released by the company, Xalkori is a pharmaceutical designed for the treatment of metastatic or locally advanced ALK-positive non-small cell lung carcinoma. Specifically, the FDA-approved medication targets the five percent of patients with ALK gene chromosomal aberrations. Since an ALK inhibitor like Xalkori is only useful in five percent of patients, physicians need tools that can identify patients with ALK fusion.
According to scientists at the Seoul National University Hospital and Pfizer Oncology, that test is now a reality. The new diagnostic test is significantly cheaper than existing tests used for the detection of ALK fusion. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is the FDA-approved diagnostic for determining ALK fusion in a patient. However, this test very expensive and complex.
With the new test, ALK fusions can be detected through genetic profiling technology. This genetic profiling technology was developed by NanoString, a medical diagnostics company based in Seattle, Washington. NanoString recently won E.U. CE Mark clearance for a molecular diagnostic test for detection of breast cancer.