Colon cancer is very common in the U.S. The American Cancer Society estimates that there were roughly 140,000 cases of colorectal cancers in the U.S. last year. Despite these numbers, many Americans are reluctant to undergo colonoscopies, even though the procedure could save their lives.
However, a new test from Enzo Clinical Labs could help change these numbers. The New York State Department of Health has approved Enzo's ColonSentry test to assess a patient's risk of having colorectal cancer--and all it requires is a small blood sample.
ColonSentry uses RNA in the blood to measure the levels of the expression of 7 genes. These genes serve as biomarkers that help assess current presence or severity of disease, and doctors can use the results of the test to identify those most at risk for colorectal cancer.
The company plans to start offering its test next month, and it should serve as a valuable tool for both primary physicians and OB-GYNs to guide and direct their patients. And because it is licensed in New York, where the company has a large footprint, it is now licensed in the majority of states.
As Barry Weiner, founder, president and CFO of Enzo Biochem ($ENZ), told FierceMedicalDevices, the test could help boost colonoscopy compliance, especially for those who have been reluctant to undergo the procedure. He also pointed to a shocking statistic: roughly 40% who should get colonoscopies fail to do so--either out of reluctance to undergo the prep work, or the fear of being put under. But this tool could help patients understand their risk and the necessity of getting the procedure done.
Indeed, it might even encourage those in their 40s and early 50s--below the age guideline for getting colonoscopies--to see if they are at risk for the disease and catch it earlier if they do happen to develop it.
A number of physicians have already expressed interest in this new test. But Enzo is hardly resting on its laurels. Weiner told FMD that his company has a large pipeline of products, including one to assess a patient's heart risk profile. Furthermore, the company has been aggressively moving to become a center of excellence for molecular testing.
Enzo Biochem, the parent of Enzo Clinical Labs, Enzo Life Sciences and Enzo Therapeutics, is an intergrated company with a "full compendium of capabilities" targeted to end users, Weiner said. He added that the company has a unique business model and can even take tests others have developed and modify them to make them more efficient. Indeed, Enzo is positioned "very, very nicely" to meet the demands of its users, he explained.
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