CellMax Life blood test study detects precancer colorectal polyps with 90% accuracy

red blood cells
The company's test found that increases in precancer and cancer cell counts in the blood correlated with disease severity. (Pixabay)

A study by CellMax Life found that the company's blood-based test was able to detect the small, precancerous colon polyps known as adenomas with close to 90% accuracy.

By filtering out and counting precancer and cancer cells in the bloodstream using its CMx platform, CellMax Life’s FirstSightCRC test also found that increases in cell counts correlated with increases in disease severity.

The early removal of adenoma polyps from the colon can lower the mortality rate of colorectal cancer by 53%, according to the Sunnyvale, California-based company, which plans to present the study’s findings at the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium in San Francisco later this week.  

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“Colon cancer screening is essential to detect and remove precancer polyps,” said Shai Friedland, chief of gastroenterology at the Stanford Veterans Administration and lead investigator of the company’s separate, ongoing study aimed at obtaining FDA approval for the FirstSightCRC test.

“These results are very exciting, as for the first time my patients who are reluctant to undergo a colonoscopy may have a highly sensitive noninvasive testing option for precancer,” Friedland added.

According to CellMax Life, colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the U.S. with 150,000 new cases and $14 billion spent on treatment annually, and rising incidence of the disease among younger adults.

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The company’s test employs a microfluidic chip that ensnares cells alongside high-affinity antibodies, as well as an air-foam release mechanism that isolates and preserves the captured cells for better detection.

The expanded study included 737 participants 50 years of age or older, including 301 healthy adults, 111 with precancerous adenomas and 325 with confirmed cancers. The test demonstrated 90% accuracy for detecting precancer and 95% for cancer itself. Previous results from the study had been presented at ASCO’s GI cancer symposium in 2018.