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EANS-News: Epigenomics AG: Partnership with Laboratory Network MDI - A Successful Model for Introducing Blood-based Colorectal Cancer Early Detection
Innovative Septin9 blood-test offers new opportunities in colorectal cancer early detection Efficient partnerships between laboratories and Epigenomics in educating physicians and patients Survey shows high level of awareness and acceptance of Septin9 testing among primary care physicians
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Subtitle: Innovative Septin9 blood-test offers new opportunities in colorectal cancer early detection
Efficient partnerships between laboratories and Epigenomics in educating physicians and patients
Survey shows high level of awareness and acceptance of Septin9 testing among primary care physicians
Press release, Berlin, Germany, and Seattle, WA, USA, June 17, 2010 (euro adhoc) - Since the introduction of the Septin9 blood test in Europe by the Berlin-based molecular diagnostics company Epigenomics AG in October 2009, the company has relied on close partnerships with diagnostic laboratories to introduce the test. Although commercially available for only a few months, Septin9 is now offered by most large laboratory networks in Germany and Switzerland including Berlin-based MDI - Medizinisches Diagnostisches Institut - which has a regional focus on the states of Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern within Germany.
"For MDI laboratory colorectal cancer early detection has very high priority", commented Dr. Heinz-Detlef Gremmels, Head of the MDI laboratory in Berlin. "By offering the Septin9 test we provide to our clients an innovative and simple alternative to current methods of colorectal cancer early detection. The education in this field we provide to physicians together with Epigenomics has triggered many requests for the Septin9 test and a steadily increasing number of patient samples arriving at the labs for analysis with this colorectal cancer blood test." Dr. Gremmels added that MDI expects to successfully establish the new Septin9 parameter within 12 months in northern and eastern Germany.
The Septin9 colorectal cancer blood test is designed to be convenient and patient friendly: patients simply provide a blood sample in the doctor's office, e.g. as part of a regular health check-up. The blood sample is then shipped to a diagnostic laboratory where it is tested for presence of the Septin9 biomarker.
Current colorectal cancer screening methods - including fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) and colonoscopy - are perceived to be inconvenient and laborious and are infrequently used by individuals aged 50 and older who should be screened at regular intervals. Therefore the majority of cancers are detected in advanced stages when the chances of survival are greatly diminished. The blood-based Septin9 test provides an opportunity to motivate more people to participate in early detection schemes and to provide an earlier and more promising therapy to those individuals with cancer among them.
With the aim of educating physicians and patients in the Berlin and Brandenburg area about this novel approach in colorectal cancer early detection this year, in addition to sending large numbers of information letters to regional physicians, MDI laboratory has been organizing numerous educational seminars in five German states, which have generated positive interest among the participating medical professionals. In close collaboration with Epigenomics and with key opinion leaders in gastroenterology as speakers, the MDI laboratory informs attendees on colorectal cancer as well as benefits and methods of colorectal cancer early detection, including the innovative blood-based Septin9 test. These seminars offer a novel platform for information exchange between laboratories, gastroenterologists and family doctors on the topic of colorectal cancer. Epigenomics further supports this educational process by working closely with lay and trade press, and providing scientific contributions at medical conferences and patient-oriented educational events.
Dr. Frieda Gerdes, Head of Marketing at Epigenomics emphasizes the advantages of such a partnership: "Close collaboration with the laboratories offers many advantages: It provides us the opportunity to introduce the Septin9 test to a vast group of family doctors very efficiently and enter into a close dialog with them. We plan to implement this concept also with other laboratory networks to introduce the Septin9 test to more doctors and patients as an alternative to current non-invasive methods in order to encourage more people to participate in colorectal cancer early detection."
MDI laboratory and Epigenomics also intend to perform scientific studies with the aim to support the introduction of the Septin9 test into medical practice and to provide important insight into behavioral aspects of acceptance of colorectal cancer early detection in the target screening population.
A recently performed market survey among primary care physicians in Germany performed by DocCheck, an online portal for medical professionals, on behalf of Epigenomics shows that close cooperation with the laboratories is already bearing fruit: Since the introduction in October 2009 already 34% of all physicians surveyed have heard about the Septin9 test with the majority of them having a positive attitude towards the test.
Epigenomics is a molecular diagnostics company with a focus on the development of novel products for cancer. Using DNA methylation biomarkers, Epigenomics' tests on the market and in development aim at diagnosing cancer at an early stage before symptoms occur and thereby may reduce mortality from this dreaded disease.
Epigenomics' product portfolio contains the CE-marked IVD test, Epi proColon, the world's first regulatory cleared molecular diagnostic test for the detection of colorectal cancer in blood that is based on the biomarker Septin9, and further proprietary DNA methylation biomarkers and IVD products at various stages of development for colorectal, lung and prostate cancer. For development and global commercialization of IVD test products, Epigenomics pursues a dual business strategy in which direct commercialization of proprietary diagnostic test products is combined with non-exclusive licensing to diagnostic industry players with broad customer access. Strategic diagnostics industry partners include Abbott Molecular, Sysmex Corporation, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, and ARUP Laboratories, Inc. for diagnostics test products and services, and QIAGEN N.V. for sample preparation solutions and research products. The company is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, and has a wholly owned subsidiary, Epigenomics Inc., in Seattle, WA, U.S.A. For more information, please visit Epigenomics' website at www.epigenomics.com.
Epigenomics legal disclaimers. This communication expressly or implicitly contains certain forward-looking statements concerning Epigenomics AG and its business. Such statements involve certain known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause the actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of Epigenomics AG to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Epigenomics AG is providing this communication as of this date and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
The information contained in this communication does not constitute nor imply an offer to sell or transfer any product outside of the European Union, and no product based on this technology is currently available for sale in the United States. The analytical and clinical performance characteristics of any product based on this technology which may be sold at some future time in the U.S. have not been established.
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Dr. Achim Plum
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