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DermTech Is Issued U.S. Patent for the Early Detection, Staging and Monitoring of Melanoma
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
La Jolla, CA -- DermTech, Inc., a biotechnology company developing molecular diagnostics for the early detection of melanoma and other diseases, announced that it has been issued Patent No. 7,297,480 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent, entitled: "Method for Detection of Melanoma", includes claims focused on non-invasive methods for detecting early-stage melanoma and for staging, and claims for monitoring melanoma in a subject.
The patent claims the use of DermTech's "tape stripping" technology for the purposes of detecting, staging and monitoring melanoma. The methods claimed in the patent focus on the use of DermTech's EGIR (Epidermal Genetic Information Retrieval, a skin sampling technique known as "tape stripping" in combination with a molecular diagnostic assay). Specifically, adhesive tape is placed over a lesion suspicious for melanoma and then removed to harvest the top layer of skin cells. The RNA is extracted and analyzed to determine and compare the level of a key melanoma marker, Interleukin-2 Receptor 1 (IL-2 R1), with the level in a normal skin control sample. A decrease in IL-2 R1 is indicative of early-stage melanoma. The patent also claims the use of evaluating additional biomarkers based upon differences in gene expression such that a change in these messenger RNAs is indicative of late-stage melanoma. The ability to detect, stage and monitor disease is critical for improved clinical outcomes.
"DermTech welcomes the issuance of this patent as it will allow us to move forward and more fully develop and position our core EGIR technology for the staging as well as the detection, of melanoma," said George Schwartz, CEO, DermTech. "This patent is an important addition to our intellectual property portfolio."
The incidence rate of malignant melanoma is increasing faster than any other cancer. Treatment involves surgical excision of the primary lesion, and vigilant monitoring to detect recurrence. The methods for detecting malignant melanoma described in DermTech's newly issued patent can serve as the basis for therapeutic decisions, saving many lives and reducing costs by avoiding unnecessary excisions and biopsies.
Headquartered in La Jolla, California, DermTech International is focused on the development and validation of molecular tests using specimens derived from the skin. The company's proprietary Epidermal Genetic Information Retrieval (EGIR) technology is in clinical studies to evaluate its potential as a non-invasive diagnostic for melanoma and other major diseases. It is also being studied in the context of tracking treatment efficacy for a variety of dermatologic and other conditions, including the effects of drugs on skin at the molecular level in advance of observable clinical results. DermTech is actively pursuing research using EGIR and its applications in the areas of melanoma, prostate cancer and various skin disorders, such as psoriasis. For additional information, visit http://www.dermtech.com/.
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