University of Alberta researchers collaborate with the BGI Shenzhen on new cancer screening technology

by • August 12, 2013 • Health, Industry IntelComments (1)1346

A new diagnostic test for pre-cancerous polyps, PolypDx™, from Metabolomic Technologies Inc. (MTI), is moving towards commercialization as a result of a collaboration between the Alberta government, the University of Alberta (U of A), the renowned BGI Shenzhen (formerly Beijing Genomic Institute) and U of A spin-off company MTI.

Led by Dr. Richard Fedorak and Dr. Haili Wang, the University of Alberta research team has developed a non-invasive early diagnostic test “PolypDx™” to detect evidence of colonic polyps, the precursor to colorectal cancers. They have formed MTI with the assistance of business incubator TEC Edmonton, to further develop, commercialize, validate and market this innovative diagnostic in Alberta and global markets.

With over a million dollars in total project support, PolypDx™ is undergoing validation and clinical trials in Alberta and in China, using the large-scale population screening resources of the BGI Shenzhen.

PolypDx™ has higher detection accuracy than current fecal-based tests, as well as easier administration, faster results and a lower cost. MTI hopes that its diagnostic test will be a game-changer in the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancers.

“As one of the leading research universities in the country, the University of Alberta is proud to deliver the kind of cutting-edge research and innovation that leads to great discoveries like those of MTI’s,” states Dr. Lorne Babiuk, Vice-President of Research, University of Alberta. “We are thrilled to see the provincial government recognize the value of this research on cancer detection at a global scale, which is also a testament to the strength of innovation and technology found right here in Alberta.”

“This is an Alberta-developed technology that can save lives and it’s the result of the leading talent we have in our Campus Alberta and Alberta Innovates systems,” said the Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk, Deputy Premier and Minister of Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education.

“And, through our collaborative approach, we are bringing together the right partners to move this knowledge from basic research into a commercial application that will make a significant impact in health outcomes.”

The U of A’s capabilities in metabolomics and clinical biomarkers were a natural fit with BGI’s strength in detection capabilities to co-develop diagnostic tests for the global market.

“China is focusing on preventative medicine to avoid the burden of managing long term chronic treatment costs, and MTI’s pre-colon cancer test aligns perfectly with our healthcare goals,” says Yong Zhang, Head of Proteomic Division, BGI. “BGI is the best positioned to co-develop MTI’s diagnostic tests for the Chinese market, assist with the regulatory process and market the technology. We’re excited to be collaborating with the University of Alberta and MTI on technology that will save thousands of lives.”

Photo Caption: MTI management with BGI Shenzhen Director in Hangzhou (CNW Group/Metabolomic Technologies Inc.)

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