Biomarker Discovery and Development

Colon Cancer (CC) Biomarkers

Cancer of the colon and rectum, commonly termed as colorectal cancer (CRC), is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.  In 2008, it was estimated that greater than 148,000 new cases of CRC are diagnosed every year, making it the third most common cause of cancer in the United States.  While the early stages of the disease can be cured with multimodality therapies, the majority of CRC patients show no signs of the disease nor are diagnosed with it until the disease has progressed significantly further.  This is because there is no specific biomarker to aid in diagnosis, prevention, or management of CRC.   The prognosis for these patients with advanced CRC is generally poor, with over 49,000 deaths anticipated in the United States this year (second only to lung cancer in cancer related deaths).

     Currently, AlfaGene Bioscience possesses an exclusive technology for isolation of adult human intestinal stem cells from both cancerous and normal colorectal tissues.  Additionaly, using a proprietary growth supporting medium we are able to change (differentiate) these adult intestinal stem cells into the type of cells that normally cover the inner surface of the intestine.  Aided by this novel technology, a unique system of paired stem and epithelial cells derived from both tumor-initiating stem cells and its normal counterpart from the same individual’s colon has been established.  Using this novel technology, AlfaGene is currently attempting to identify culprit molecules (biomarkers) of the stem and epithelial cells that are indicative/predicative of cancerous development.