Dr Johannes Schweizer, VP of R&D at Arbor Vita Corporation talked about Arbor Vita’s proprietary OncoE6™ Cervical Test that Predicts Development of Cervical Cancer at www.bio2devicegroup.org event. Information on 3 great upcoming conferences EPPIC, TiEcon, and HealthTechForum with great speakers on healthcare tracks, is posted at the end of the article.
Arbor Vita was found by Dr. Peter Lu, in 1998 with an aim to apply discoveries of the role of PDZ proteins to the development of novel therapeutics and diagnostics. Numerous pathogens have been found to cause diseases by binding to a PDZ protein and thereby disrupting normal cell signaling. The ability to regulate PDZ/PL interactions represents new opportunities in controlling multiple signaling cascades in complex diseases and have recently been a focus for human drug targets. Arbor Vita has identified nearly all of the PDZ domains in the human proteome and has decoded most of them. Arbor Vita’s platform technology is targeted towards several diseases. Its stroke treatment asset was recently sold to NoNO, Inc. Avian flu Dx is the first FDA cleared rapid Dx test. At this event, Dr Schweizer discussed Arbor Vita’s diagnostic and treatment technology for HPV induced cancers.
Cervical cancer is a leading cause of mortality, worldwide. HPV induced cancers are transmitted through sexual contact and kill over 275,000 women, every year. These do not receive as much attention because the mortality rates are lower in the US and other developed countries. But mortality from slow progressive cervical cancers peak in developing countries. In India for instance, every 7 minutes, a woman dies from this disease. The current mode of detection is through pap smears, which have poor sensitivity and poor specificity. In the US, out of 100,000 women tested, 23,000 are likely to be hr-HPV positive. But from these, only 6 women are likely to have cancer. This indicates that the current screening methods are sensitive but are not sufficiently specific to detect pre-cancerous and cancerous activity and low specificity leads to over treatment. Pap tests give about 20% false positive and false negative results. The only reason it still work is because of the frequency of testing in the case of this very slow moving cancer, said Schweizer. Also pap tests require lot of infrastructure and set up that is often not easily available in developing regions.
Arbor Vita’s OncoE6TM Test is the only test that specifically identifies the viral E6 oncoprotein that causes cervical cancer. And it is simple to administer with specimen captured with a polyester tipped cervical swab, which can also be captured by the woman on her own as well. Elevated E6 oncoprotein correlates to cancerous activity and development of high-affinity anti E6 mAb is a key to feasibility. There are 15 HPV types that cause cancer. Among these, HPV 16 and HPV 18 are leading causes of cervical cancers, worldwide. This test is specific to these two viruses. Further this test is robust and lends to easy storage at ambient temperature. The entire process from sample collection to getting the results can be completed in 2.5 hours.
Schweizer shared some of the data from its clinical trials. The data indicates that in a head to head comparison with OncoE6TM, the DNA test results in nine fold over treatment including colposcopies and biopsies. OncoE6 Cervical Test on the other hand, has high specificity for women with high grade disease cancers. OncoE6 Cervical Test efficiently identifies women in need of clinical follow-up, among the many more with clinically irrelevant HPV infections. In a one year follow up, E6TM promised to be a solid predictive marker as high specificity and high PPV are keys to lower referral rates and clinical follow-up. This was very interesting talk and was followed by Q&A.
Please see below information on some excellent conferences and events coming up in the Bay Area, in next couple of months.
March 29, 2014 (day after tomorrow) EPPIC (www.eppicglobal.org) is hosting annual conference at SF, Westin. Panels include Neglected & Rare Diseases – http://bit.ly/1c1vvTR, Innovations in clinical Development of Novel Agents, Point of Care gold rush and there will be speed pitch and SIG networking opportunities. Promises to be a great conference.
May 16, 17, 2014 TiE SV (www.tiesv.org) will host TiEcon (www.tiecon.org) , the largest entrepreneurship conference. This year it will feature #healthcare track with focus on Disruptive Technologies in Healthcare.
May 20, 2014 HealthTech Forum (www.healthtechnologyforum.com) will host annual conference around the theme “Pathways to Sustainable Health” at Parc 55 Wyndham, SF and will feature excellent panels and speakers on Medical Research in the Cloud, Patient Engagement in Behavioral Health, Improving Health in Global Underserved Communities and more.
www.bio2devicegroup.org meets every Tuesday and next Tuesday Dr. Russell Pachynski, co-founder, CombImmune, will talk about “Novel approaches to Immune Therapy and Monitoring”.
Check out new job opportunities 1) Embedded Software Engineer – Mountain View, CA 2) Quality manager – Mt Laurel, NJ – http://bit.ly/P1H0QK