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ANGLE’s Parsortix liquid biopsy proving to be more than just a cancer detection device

The cancer detection device is on track to finish a key clinical study in the first quarter of 2019, but in the meantime, it has shown promise in detecting abnormalities in unborn children
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Parsortix analyses blood for signs of cancer, and, more lately, signs of foetal abnormalities

ANGLE plc (LON:AGL, OTCQX:ANPCY) is the firm behind Parsortix – a simple blood test which can help doctors spot the signs of cancer at an early stage.

Blood tests – or liquid biopsies as they are known in the business – were all the rage at some of the world’s biggest cancer conferences in 2018, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago over summer.

READ: Liquid biopsies – the breakthrough cancer tests ANGLE is already developing

READ: Scientists make big breakthrough with Parsortix

Parsortix is slightly to different to some of its rivals, though: rather than testing for fragments of dead cancer cells, it detects and captures circulating tumour cells (CTCs).

CTCs provide the tell-tale signs of cancer and their capture can allow doctors to more accurately assess treatment options.

This method is seen as more reliable because previous tests have shown that fragments of dead cancer cells are present in around a quarter of people over 65 who do not have cancer.

CTCs, on the other hand, “give a complete picture”, because they can only be found in people with cancer.

ANGLE is currently taking its system through the clinic and reported back in October that it was making “good progress” with the study’s enrolment.

Clinical trial to complete in Q1

It is looking to become the first company to receive Food and Drug Administration clearance for a platform that captures and harvests intact circulating tumour cells from patient blood for subsequent analysis.

With the progress made so far, it expects the trial to be completed by the end of March.

“We believe there is a tremendous opportunity for ANGLE to secure the first ever FDA clearance for a platform that captures and harvests intact circulating tumour cells from patient blood for subsequent analysis,” said chief executive and founder Andrew Newland.

“This would be a key step in establishing the Parsortix system as the system of choice for CTC liquid biopsy, securing a leading position in the emerging multi-billion-dollar liquid biopsy market.”

Foetal abnormalities

The cancer arena is where Parsortix is gaining the most traction currently – more than 200 of its devices are in use around the world.

But ANGLE recently made a breakthrough when the system showed promise in harvesting foetal cells which could help detect abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome in unborn children.

It is estimated that current non-invasive techniques identify less than 10% if all serious birth defects. Parsortix, by contrast, could pave the way for broader genetic screening.

READ: ANGLE finds a new angle for Parsortix

In the small-scale study, Parsortix was able to distinguish between male and female chromosomes and, in one case, correctly identified trisomy 21, the marker for Down’s.

Parents and doctors are willing to pay a hefty price to ensure the health of their unborn babies, with the non-invasive prenatal testing market estimated to be worth around US$600mln. Analysts expect it to grow to US$1bn a year by 2022.

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