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Special report: Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer but now, one ASX-listed biotech is one step closer to commercialising an important diagnostic tool.

Melbourne-based Rhythm Biosciences is developing a blood test called ColoSTAT. It uses antibodies to measure the levels of a small panel of proteins in the blood that vary in the presence or absence of colorectal cancer.

And today, the company (ASX:RHY) told investors it had successfully completed the next phase of its development – identifying a pair of antibodies key to detecting the last of the proteins in its protype diagnostic panel.

Their identification arose from a detailed analysis of four candidate antibodies identified earlier this year by research partner CSIRO.

With the antibody and protein target sources secured, the biotech is now better able to control further development and manufacturing of these key reagents, with less reliance on third party providers.

Rhythm Managing Director Dr Trevor Lockett says it’s an important piece of the puzzle.

“This is a positive step toward our clinical trials, which takes the company further down its commercialisation pathway.”

What’s next for Rhythm?

Rhythm remains on track to complete delivery of its key reagent development program by the end of this year.

Reagents here refers to the antibodies and proteins whose interactions underpin Rhythm’s ColoSTAT test.

The development is timely with growing awareness, both nationally and globally, of the importance of early detection of colorectal cancer, a disease predominantly affecting people over 50 years.

Colorectal cancer has a 90 per cent survival rate — if it’s caught early.

Importantly, published results indicate that ColoSTAT is able to detect Stage 1 cancer. When detected at Stage 1, the likelihood of treatment success is much higher than when detected at later stages.

It also could provide a much better alternative to existing screening methods.

The most affordable and widely promulgated population screening test for colorectal cancer — a take-at-home faecal test that looks for blood in the faeces — is used around the world but can be off-putting.

“Too many people don’t screen – more than 130 million in the EU, Australia and the US alone.”

“Rhythm is striving to provide a cost effective, accurate, accessible test to save many more lives.”

 

 

Rhythm Biosciences is a Stockhead advertiser.

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