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First molecular test that selects immunotherapy for kidney cancer

February 19, 2019

Singapore, February 18, 2019 - Immunotherapy drugs such as PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors represent the front-line treatment for kidney cancer. But immunotherapy is expensive, benefits only a subset of patients and is futile in the majority of patients. Now, researchers from National Cancer Centre Singapore and Lucence Diagnostics have conducted a study using Lucence's molecular test, CLEARScore™, to predict immunotherapy response for kidney cancer. The findings from this study will be presented at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium (ASCO GU) held in San Francisco this week.

CLEARScore™ is a molecular test that predicts treatment response for kidney cancer. It is an algorithm involving eight genes in the tumor, which classifies kidney cancer by molecular type. This test has been used to successfully predict treatment response of kidney cancer patients to tyrosine kinase inhibitors, a type of targeted therapy. The results were published in 2015 in European Urology, the world's top urology journal.

In this new study, CLEARScore™ was investigated in correlation with anti-PD-L1 inhibitors and immune cell markers in 36 kidney cancer patients. The results showed that the gene expression score of the eight genes correlated with immune cell infiltration and clinical response to anti-PD-L1 inhibitors in a subset of patients. This indicates that multigene score should be investigated as a biomarker to select patients who are likely to respond to immunotherapy. The study was conducted by National Cancer Centre Singapore and Lucence Diagnostics, in collaboration with the Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub led by A*ccelerate (A*STAR), Singapore General Hospital and OncoCare Cancer Centre.

"Immunotherapy is a major breakthrough in our battle against kidney cancer. It is however expensive and may have side effects. Having a test that can distinguish whether a kidney cancer patient will or will not benefit from anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy would be of high clinical value. Such tests have not been previously reported, and CLEARScore™ is a promising and exciting advance towards more precise selection of cancer patients for treatment,'' said Dr Ravindran Kanesvaran, Senior Consultant, Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore, who designed and led the study.

"This is the first study to report the correlation of a multigene score with immune phenotypes in kidney cancer. We are excited about the potential of using our CLEARScore™ test to help kidney cancer patients avoid futile treatments and prolong their lives. To further establish the clinical utility of this test for immunotherapy, we will be conducting a multinational study on a larger cohort of kidney cancer patients,'' said Dr Yukti Choudhury, Chief Technology Officer, Lucence Diagnostics, who will be presenting the study at ASCO GU. Kidney cancer is among the ten most common cancers in men and women across the world. In 2018, there were over 400,000 new cases of kidney cancer globally.
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About National Cancer Centre Singapore

National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) provides a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to cancer treatment and patient care. We see close to 65 per cent of the public sector oncology cases, and they are benefiting from the sub-specialisation of our clinical oncologists. NCCS is also accredited by the US-based Joint Commission International for its quality patient care and safety. To deliver among the best in cancer treatment and care, our clinicians work closely with our scientists who conduct robust cutting-edge clinical and translational research programmes which are internationally recognised. NCCS will also launch its Proton Beam Therapy programme at its new centre. NCCS strives to be a global leading cancer centre, and shares its expertise and knowledge by offering training to local and overseas medical professionals. http://www.nccs.com.sg

About Lucence Diagnostics

Lucence Diagnostics is a genomic medicine company founded to fulfil its vision of a world without avoidable cancer deaths. The company invents non-invasive blood tests that improve cancer detection and treatment selection. Lucence targets the most common cancers in Asia using its proprietary technology and AI platform. Lucence is headquartered in Singapore with offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong. Its services are delivered worldwide through an accredited central laboratory. http://www.lucencedx.com

About Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub

DxD Hub is Singapore's national initiative led by public innovation and enterprise office, A*ccelerate Technologies (formerly ETPL). DxD Hub's mission is to fast-track the transformation of early-stage research into clinically validated diagnostic devices that are ready for market adoption.

About Singapore General Hospital

Singapore General Hospital, a member of Singapore Health Services, is the public sector's flagship hospital. Established in 1821, SGH is Singapore's largest acute tertiary hospital with 1,700 beds and national referral centre offering a comprehensive range of 39 clinical specialties on its campus. Every year, about 1 million Singaporeans benefit from medical care delivered by its 800 specialists. As an academic healthcare institution and the bedrock of medical education, SGH plays a key role in nurturing doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, and is committed to innovative translational and clinical research to provide the best care and outcomes to patients. http://www.sgh.com.sg

SingHealth

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