Novel Method to Determine Susceptibility to Disease Treatment using Genetic Biomarkers

Abstract/Technology Overview

Pathway-directed therapeutics, for example those targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-related pathways, have established clinical activity in various types of cancer such as head and neck squamous cell cancers (HNSCC). Although there have been significant improvements in multi-modality approaches to the treatment of cancer, it appears that a full remission rate is of only 50%. To date, the standard of care provides limited options for the treatment of recurrent metastatic diseases. Despite evidence that a large subset of HNSCC cancers are dependent on EGFR signaling, so far only moderate success has been achieved with known treatments. The success of targeted therapeutics is predicated based on high-precision predictive biomarkers. Therefore, there is an unmet need for biomarkers that are capable of predicting a subject’s susceptibility to a specific drug treatment.

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

Long non-coding RNAs are a recently discovered class of RNA molecules whose functions are not well-understood and never previously implicated in response to drugs. The technology is the first in the world to establish a link between long non-coding RNA to a targeted treatment. The technology includes studies and application of a novel method of predicting susceptibility of a subject suffering from cancer to a treatment with an anti-cancer drug, by detecting the presence or absence of a genetic alteration in long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) that resides on an oncogene. The presence or absence of these genetic biomarkers serve as an indicator of how well a subject will respond to a certain treatment. A Clinical Phase II trial was conducted, and two out of 40 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma had responded exceptionally well to treatment by an anti-cancer drug traditionally used for lung cancer. Based on these results, another seven patients with the same mutations were treated with good outcomes. Work is in progress to develop diagnostic kits in conjunction with this novel method.

Potential Applications

The technology is expected to bring exciting possibilities for new drug avenues for cancers, not limited to head and neck squamous cell cancers. This novel technology will be extended and pursued for other cancer types. The new method is believed to greatly benefit patients suffering from cancer, on the basis of improvement of disease prognosis and a higher rate of cancer remission.

Customer Benefit

Patients are the greatest beneficiaries. The findings from this novel technology is expected to enhance treatment modalities in cancers such as head and neck and lung cancer by identifying patients that would benefit from readily available and targeted drugs that are not earlier recommended in the treatment regime, thus vastly improving clinical outcomes of their conditions. This technology will also create new possibilities and open up other new drug avenues for patients with cancer.

Technology Owner

Chole Chu


National Health Innovation Centre Singapore

Technology Category
  • Diagnostics
  • Pharmaceuticals & Therapeutics
Technology Status
  • Available for Licensing
Technology Readiness Level
  • TRL 6