Abbott backs Angle’s breast cancer liquid biopsy study

The Parsortix tumor cell harvesting system (Angle)

Abbott is collaborating with Angle on a breast cancer liquid biopsy study. The trial is assessing the use of technology for harvesting circulating tumor cells in combination with Abbott’s test of HER-2 status.

To support the study, Abbott is providing its PathVysion HER-2 DNA FISH Probe kits in the form of a research grant. Angle will use the in-vitro diagnostic to analyze circulating tumor cells harvested from blood samples by its Parsortix system. The goal is to show that HER-2 status can be determined from blood samples. 

Today, doctors perform HER-2 testing by sending formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded breast cancer tissue specimens for analysis. This necessitates an invasive procedure but is deemed worthwhile as the process shows whether a patient is eligible for treatment with Herceptin. If Angle’s study hits its goal, it will open the door to HER-2 status being determined from less-invasive blood tests. 


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“We hope to be able to work with Abbott to extend PathVysion use into routine blood test analysis. Use of Angle’s Parsortix system would for the first time enable established tissue biopsy techniques to be used for breast cancer on cancer cells obtained from a simple blood test protecting patients from invasive procedures and improving their care whilst at the same time reducing healthcare costs,” Angle CEO Andrew Newland said in a statement.

PathVysion is a well-established test. The question is whether its ability to determine HER-2 status from tissue samples translates into the ability to accurately analyze circulating tumor cells for the same biomarker. 

Angle wants to show that is the case to open up a market for its Parsortix technology. The system uses a disposable, microscope slide-sized cassette to harvest tumor cells from blood samples. Tumor cells are harvested based on their size and compressibility.

Abbott has the first option to negotiate an exclusive license to use Parsortix in the assessment of HER-2 status.

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