The burgeoning world of biomarkers, focused mainly on women’s health issues and particularly breast cancer, has now moved into prostate cancer, the number one cancer in men with an estimated 200,000 new cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. alone. Clarient (Nasdaq: CLRT, http://www.clarientinc.com), a smallcap company based in Aliso Viejo, CA, announced this month it has launched a new gene expression diagnostic for prostate cancer based on a patented combination of four genes that can accurately identify the presence of prostate cancer cells, which until now has proven to be a very imprecise science. The Clarient press release announcing the launch (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Clarient-Launches-Gene-bw-14044002.html) noted that, out of more than 1 million prostate cancer tissue biopsies done annually in the U.S., one-third of the men reported as negative for prostate cancer actually do have prostate cancer that was missed by the biopsy. The Clarient test accurately identified the presence of Grade 3 or higher prostate cancer 90 percent of the time in a clinical validation study.
Other smallcap companies involved in prostate cancer treatment include Endocare (Nasdaq: ENDO, http://www.endocare.com), a California-based medical device company that develops minimally invasive ablation techniques including cryoablation, which freezes a tumor to destroy it and is used for kidney, lung and other cancers including prostate cancer; and IsoRay (AMEX: ISR, http://www.isoray.com), a Washington-based company that develops isotope-based seeds for brachtherapy for prostate cancer but is developing new brachytherapy seeds for other cancers including breast cancer.