Australian company, Minomic, could be a force of change in prostate cancer diagnosis. The biotechnology company has been developing and testing a more accurate blood test for the diagnosis of prostate cancer, which could reduce the chance of “false positive” results and improve the accuracy of testing for prostate cancer.
The new test, which recently had a clinical trial in the US, has been found to return only 1.5 false positives out of 10. In comparison, the standard prostate-specific antigen, better known as a PSA test, typically shows a false positive result in 6 in 10 cases. This is because the test only shows elevated levels of PSA, which could be due to prostate cancer. Other causes of an elevated PSA are an enlarged prostate or infection.
The new test, known as MiCheck, works by screening for three biomarkers found on prostate cancer cells. This test has been demonstrated to be more accurate than the current method of testing using the PSA blood test. With 300 people participating in the trial, there is now sufficient evidence to apply for regulatory approval in Europe, with hopes to roll the test out by the end of the year.
But what does this mean for Australia? Although the company is Australian, the market here is small and Minomic has said it needs to kick off in a bigger market before trialling and releasing in Australia.
In the future, Minomic plans to target the specific biomarkers it has identified to create drugs that treat prostate cancer, as opposed to just diagnosing the disease.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Australian men. The research and release of the MiCheck test in other countries could see prostate cancer as a whole better diagnosed and treated, both in other countries and eventually in Australia as well.