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DermTech Study on Melanoma Molecular Diagnostic to Be Presented at AACR
Date:4/15/2008

Data shows non-invasive assay effectively identifies melanoma

LA JOLLA, Calif., April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- DermTech, a biotechnology company developing molecular diagnostics for the early detection of melanoma and other diseases, will present data at the American Association of Cancer Research on its non-invasive assay that distinguishes melanoma from benign moles. The study entitled: "A Non-invasive Genomic Assay for the Detection of Melanoma in Suspicious Pigmented Nevi", shows that the assay has 100% sensitivity and 90.6% specificity. The biomarker based on 20 target genes is being developed as part of the company's proprietary molecular-based approach that uses its EGIR(TM) (Epidermal Genetic Information Retrieval) technology to identify melanoma at the earliest stages of disease. The late breaking abstract #LB-221 will be presented at Poster Session 19 on Tuesday, April 15.

DermTech's EGIR ("tape stripping") method is based on applying a custom adhesive strip to the skin's surface to obtain RNA and subsequently using gene expression profiling techniques to identify disease.

"Results of this study suggest that the malignant melanocyte, directly or indirectly, induces an alteration in stratum corneum gene expression," said Sherman Chang, PhD, Director of Molecular Biology, DermTech. "These findings pave the way for the development of an objective assay based on genomic data -- a major advance over today's subjective method of identifying disease."

Although melanoma accounts for more than 70% of skin cancer deaths, when detected early it is considered highly curable. In current clinical practice, the detection of melanoma is based upon visual clinical cues including the "ABCDE" criteria for pigmented nevi and results of optical imaging techniques, such as dermoscopy and con-focal microscopy. However, depending upon the setting, only 1 to 10% of lesions biopsied for suspicion of melanoma are positive upon histopathologic examinat
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