SkylineDx, a biotechnology company specializing in the development and commercialization of genetic tests, is launching its MMprofiler assay. This test enables clinicians to more accurately predict the prognosis of patients with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) than traditional methods.
The MMprofiler measures the activity of 92 genes which are directly or indirectly related to the disease. These measurements are repeated across different studies, always with the same robustness and predictable outcome, thereby creating a test that is more reliable than traditional methods. Based on gene activity, clinicians can then use the test to predict for their patients how the disease will progress.
Unfortunately, between 20 and 25% of patients are informed that their prognosis is poorer. The overall survival of these patients is four times lower, on average, and these patients can expect the disease to return more quickly after treatment than patients with a better prognosis. Several guidelines for the treatment of multiple myeloma, like mSMART guidelines, recommend that patients be treated in accordance with their prognosis.
Patients, patient advocacy organisations, internists and clinical geneticists have all expressed a strong interest in the new test. At a major European conference on blood and bone marrow cancers held in Vienna this June, it was revealed that approximately 80% of patients wanted to be informed about disease progress.
“The key to a successful doctor-patient relationship is good communication; it isn’t rocket science,” said Mr. Eric Low, CEO of Myeloma UK, a patient advocacy group. “Ask and involve them, be honest and listen very carefully to what they have to say.”
The new test is also supported by Prof. Dr. Sonneveld of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, who recently received the Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on multiple myeloma.
“We want to be able to predict disease progress based on the genetic properties of the malignant cell,” said Sonneveld. “While the current methods accommodate this need to some extent, it makes more sense to mark all genes involved in the incidence of multiple myeloma at once. Based on the profile generated, we can then divide patients based on their better or poorer prognosis.”