Allegro Diagnostics landed a $2.8 million SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute to fund a clinical trial of its molecular lung cancer diagnostic test.
The Boston-based firm said the 800-patient, 12-site study of its BronchoGen device in the U.S. will examine whether the product can help with early detection of lung cancer.
It uses the easily accessible bronchial epithelial cells lining the airway, obtained during bronchoscopy, and analyzes their RNA to detect specific sets of genes. Company researchers discovered that some genes are over- or under-expressed in current or former smokers with lung cancer, compared to those without lung cancer.
The company presented its technology a few weeks back at the MassMEDIC 11th Annual Medtech Investors Conference. Allegro told conference attendees that it’s licensed three patents pending and optioned a portfolio of additional intellectual property in process. Its technology has the potential to identify the cell types and molecular pathways involved in lung cancer and stage of disease, and might be applicable to other epithelial organ diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or inflammatory bowel disease.