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Quest Diagnostics to Develop Blood Test to Aid in the Detection of Colorectal Cancer
Date:2/19/2008

Company Licenses Septin-9 DNA Methylation Biomarker from Epigenomics

MADISON, N.J., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, today announced that it has licensed rights to uses of the Septin 9 DNA methylation biomarker from Epigenomics AG (Frankfurt, Prime Standard: ECX), a cancer molecular diagnostics company, to develop a molecular-based laboratory test that can help physicians detect colorectal cancer based on a patient's blood specimen. Methylation of the Septin 9 gene is a marker in blood plasma of colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. The company plans to develop the test to act as a supplement to conventional methods of colorectal cancer screening, including colonoscopy and fecal occult blood tests (FOBTs).

"The availability of a simple blood test that can detect a biomarker for colorectal cancer will be a significant advance in the fight against this deadly disease, which is often curable when caught in the early stages," said Joyce G. Schwartz, M.D., vice president and chief laboratory officer, Quest Diagnostics. "Patient compliance in the U.S. with colorectal cancer screening guidelines is dismal. Too often, patients fail to undergo a colonoscopy or conduct other types of colorectal cancer screenings because they find these methods invasive, unpleasant or costly. A blood test for detecting colorectal cancer, once developed, will be a convenient option that complements other screening methods."

Quest Diagnostics is the first commercial laboratory in the U.S. to license uses of the Septin 9 biomarker from Epigenomics with the goal of commercializing a laboratory-d
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
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