Two-year trial aims to find colorectal cancer screening test

June 12, 2008

Release Date: June 12, 2008
Saskatchewan News Network; Regina Leader-Post

Thursday, June 12, 2008

REGINA (SNN) — A colorectal cancer test that’s slated to begin in Regina next week will be the first of its magnitude in the world.

The Saskatchewan government, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region are working with Phenomenome Discoveries to develop a clinical trial to evaluate a new serum test for colorectal cancer risk screening.

“By combining our resources, we’re able to proceed with what is the world’s largest and most thorough evaluation of colon cancer pathology and metabolic risk factors ever performed in the history of medicine,” said Dr. Dayan Goodenowe, CEO of the Saskatoon company.

Speaking at a Wednesday news conference, he said Phenomenome’s research has indicated 90 per cent of people who have colon cancer have a metabolic deficiency. Based on six years of research that involved more than 1,000 people worldwide, the company has developed a highly validated blood test to identify who has the deficiency.

The two-year trial will begin at the Pasqua and General hospitals and will involve 5,000 patients. Patients undergoing a colonoscopy will be asked to volunteer medical history and two blood samples, which will be analyzed at the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory using the new test.

The trial will be a minimal cost to the province, said Health Minister Don McMorris.

“The cancer agency already does bloodwork, the provincial lab is already functioning, Phenomenome has done their work, so there’s very little cost,” he said.

McMorris said if the trial is successful, it could be precedent setting for Canada and the world.

“Nobody has found a screening that will detect colorectal cancer early like this. . . . This is one of the more optimistic days in this job,” McMorris said.