VolitionRx hits milestone in Nu.Q Capture blood-based cancer-detection technology

The company is now able to enrich nucleosomes, which heightens the specificity of its screenings

DNA and nucleosomes
Nu.Q works by measuring circulating nucleosomes in the blood, irregular levels of which are associated with cancer

VolitionRx Limited (NYSEAMERICAN:VNRX) has achieved a major milestone in the development of its Nu.Q Capture cancer-detection technology: the ability to enrich nucleosomes.

Nu.Q works by measuring circulating nucleosomes in the blood, irregular levels of which are associated with cancer. By enriching them, Volition can determine whether the origin of particular DNA is tumor or non-tumor. 

The potential uses are twofold, the company said. First, it can heighten the specificity of Volition’s screenings by removing that background signal. Second, it can be used to enrich nucleosomes of cancer origin in sequencing-based liquid biopsies, a cancer diagnostic technique.

READ: VolitionRx balance sheet strengthens in second quarter with cash increasing significantly

"I am extremely excited that this enabling technology could bridge the gap between Volition's epigenetic profiling approach to early detection and those sequencing approaches that have so far been limited to personalized treatment selection,” Business Development Director Mark Eccleston said in a statement. 

Last week, the company filed for a patent for intellectual property related to Nu.Q capture.

Now, Eccleston said, the company is working to determine the level of discrimination of tumor-derived nucleosomes in order to provide a complete analysis of nucleosomes in the blood.

A nucleosome is a segment of DNA coiled around a protein core. Nucleosomes that end up outside of cells and in the bloodstream are known as cell-free nucleosomes, which Volition uses in its screenings.

Chief Scientific Officer Jake Micallef said the company has hit a breakthrough after nearly a decade in epigenetics, which studies the effects of modifying gene expression. 

“Volition is focused on advancing the science of epigenetics and has developed an extensive understanding of chromosome and nucleosome structures, particularly in blood.” Micallef said in a statement. “I believe all the work we have done over the past 9 years [...] puts us at the cutting edge of epigenetics."

Shares of Volition jumped 10% to $4.36 on Tuesday.

—Updated to include stock movement—

Contact Andrew Kessel at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel

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