By Sherri Oslick --
EXACT Sciences Corp. announced today the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 7,485,420, entitled "Methods and Compositions for Detecting Colon Cancers," which is directed toward the use of differentially methylated vimentin as a marker of colorectal cancer. The patent is assigned to Case Western Reserve University, and licensed exclusively by EXACT Sciences.
The claims are directed to assays for assessing the likelihood of colorectal cancer in a patient through the detection of methylation within a vimentin nucleotide sequence. The invention is based in part on the inventor's discovery that methylation of vimentin DNA is associated with the presence of colorectal cancer, or more specifically, that vimentin is differentially methylated in tissues from colon cancer and unmethylated in normal human tissues. Claim 1 of the patent recites:
a) obtaining a sample from a human patient; and
b) assaying said sample for the presence or absence of methylation within a nucleotide sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NOs: 40-45, wherein the presence of methylation within any one of said nucleotide sequence is indicative of the likelihood that the human patient has colon neoplasia. [SEQ ID NOs 40-45 are vimentin sequences.]
This patent adds to EXACT's patent estate around non-invasive colorectal cancer screening.