Research on a blood test for the detection and monitoring of breast cancer has taken a step forward with the Federal Government announcing a $372,654 grant to the medical diagnostics company BARD1 Life Sciences (ASX: BD1).
The grant, announced by the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, will be used to develop, clinically evaluate and commercialise liquid biopsy tests to detect and monitor breast cancer using BARD1’s proprietary SubB2M cancer-specific probe.
Breast cancer remains the biggest cause of cancer-related death for women, with an estimated 2.8 million new cases and 626,679 deaths worldwide in 2018. In Australia, there was an estimated 19,371 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 3058 deaths in 2019.
BARD1 CEO, Dr Leearne Hinch, said: “This funding, which will be matched by BARD1, reflects the importance and commercial potential of our SubB2M-based liquid biopsy tests (essentially blood tests) to detect and monitor breast cancer.
“The SubB2M molecule binds to a cancer-specific sugar molecule that is only found on human cancer cells, potentially enabling the development of highly-specific blood tests with low false positives, radically improving how breast cancer is detected and monitored.
“Giving women access to non-invasive, accurate and reliable blood tests to detect and monitor breast cancer could greatly improve their health outcomes by providing earlier detection, informing treatment decisions and improving long-term survival.”
“With the support of the BTB program, BARD1 plans to develop and commercialise SubB2M-based liquid biopsy tests for monitoring patients already diagnosed with breast cancer for treatment response and recurrence, and as an adjunct to screening mammography.”
The government funding will allow BARD1 to build on previous data generated by the University of Adelaide and Griffith University to advance the development of a simple. non-invasive breast cancer test to detect and monitor breast cancer.
The current project will be performed collaboratively by BARD1, the Institute for Glycomics at Griffith University and the Paton Laboratory at the University of Adelaide over 22 months.
BARD1 Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Peter French, said: “SubB2M is potentially one of the most exciting breakthroughs in cancer diagnostics that I have seen in 40 years of medical research.”