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varionostic to develop test for detecting mutations of the K-RAS gene

varionostic, a bioanalytics company based in Ulm, has developed a test system for detecting K-RAS mutations in co-operation with the Institute of Pathology at the University of Ulm. The test could be an additional tool for targeted therapies of patients with colorectal cancer who stand to benefit from newly developed cancer therapies that rely on the genotype of the K-RAS oncogene.

The method is able to reliably identify all relevant mutations on codons 12 and 13. In the current ring trial being carried out by the German Society of Pathology, the technology has achieved the highest possible score, reports Uwe Gerstenmaier, CEO of varionostic.

First detection of all K-RAS gene mutations

varionostic CEO Uwe Gerstenmaier. (Photo: varionostic GmbH)
The detection system is the first reasonably priced and reliable testing system for all possible mutations. The assay system developed by the two cooperation partners not only detects the common 7 mutations, but also 12 very rare ones. varionostic plans to combine the test with gene-specific methylation analyses and is currently investigating selected genes and their methylation pattern in order to gain more detailed insights into the complexity of tumour development.

K-RAS genes without mutation respond better to antibodies

Portrait of professor doctor Thomas Seufferlein.
Oncologist Prof. Dr. Thomas Seufferlein. (Photo: Pytlik)

Mutated K-RAS genes are involved in the generation of many tumours, including colorectal cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer. In spring 2008, Thomas Seufferlein, an oncologist from Ulm, presented the results of three studies which showed that colorectal cancer patients with unmutated K-RAS genes (wild-type) can most likely benefit from monoclonal antibodies. Patients who have a mutation in the K-RAS gene will not respond to this type of treatment. According to Seufferlein, the mutated K-RAS gene can be detected in about 30 to 40 per cent of all colorectal cancer patients.

According to the Society of Epidemiological Cancer Registries and the Robert Koch Institute, around 37,000 men and 36,000 women are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year in Germany. This type of cancer is therefore the second most frequent type of cancer in Germany and also the second most frequent cause of cancer-related deaths. However, the mortality rate of people suffering from colorectal cancer is constantly decreasing.

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/varionostic-to-develop-test-for-detecting-mutations-of-the-k-ras-gene