For the early diagnosis of prostate cancer, PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) test is primarily used. The test measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood by using ELISA. However, the PSA ELISA test has been reported to have low sensitivity and specificity. To overcome the limitation of conventional PSA ELISA test, the Korean company specialised in in-vitro diagnostics including Covid-19 real-time RT-PCT kit has developed the aptamer immuno-PCR technology.
The technology is a modification of conventional immuno-PCR which combines ELISA and PCR to detect and quantify protein in clinical samples. Aptamers are oligonucleotide molecules that bind to a specific target molecule. Aptamer immuno-PCR here utilizes antibody-aptamer hybrid detection strategy in which aptamer replaces the detection antibody. Aptamer oligonucleotides with PCR amplification sequence are able to be amplified with real-time PCR for the quantification of initial amounts of target protein binding to capturing antibody.
The company is now developing a diagnostic kit for prostate cancer with the aptamer immuno-PCR, enabling to detect and quantify three different target proteins at the same time in one tube including PSA. Preliminary studies have shown that the simultaneous detection of multiple proteins is possible with this technology. Importantly, the test with the aptamer immuno-PCR has shown that the detection of PSA is 1,000 times more sensitive than ELISA. Additionally, one of the advantages of the method is that both urine samples and serum samples can be used for the diagnosis of prostate cancer for easy collection of clinical samples and convenient use in clinical laboratories.
The offered aptamer immuno-PCR technology is not only used in the diagnosis of prostate cancer but also applicable to other kinds of cancers. This diagnostic technology improves the analytical sensitivity and multiple detections of target proteins for cancer diagnosis. The cutting-edge technology is also useful to develop diagnostic kits of various diseases with novel protein biomarkers.
The company is now looking for collaborations with R&D institute or company dealing with cancer diagnostics and in-vitro diagnostic kits under a commercial agreement with technical assistance, license agreement or research cooperation agreement.