Image: The AMAS test by Oncolab is a pioneering cancer diagnostic test measuring levels of a circulating antibody which is elevated in nearly all types of cancer. The test has been run for over 60,000 patients at Oncolab's CLIA-certified facility (Photo courtesy of Oncolab).
The Oncolab (Boston, MA, USA) laboratory-developed AMAS cancer test is making its AACC debut at this year's 2014 conference. To date, the test, which is a serum-based in vitro immunoassay, has been run for over 60,000 patients and appears to be an emerging tool in the fight against cancer recurrence as well as detection.
There are an estimated 17 million cancer survivors in the US alone, hence there is a race to develop better technologies for identifying whether a cancer has begun to recur, and if so at what rate. There is a clear trend towards the use of immunoassays in cancer diagnostics, as immunotherapy for treatment. The AMAS test fits into these trends by measuring the level of a specific antibody, Anti-Malignin Antibody, which is thought to be produced by the body's immune system in response to nearly all forms of cancer.
Most other cancer immunoassays measure circulating cancer antigens, which become elevated later than the antibody measured in the AMAS test. Therefore, the AMAS Test helps to pick up recurrence at an early stage when levels of anti-malignin antibody are often elevated early in the occurrence and recurrence of cancer. This is a distinctive capability—false positive and false negative rates are under 10%. While the AMAS test does provide guidance to the likely location of the cancer, new high-resolution imaging techniques, more location-specific cancer tests, and clinical signs help the clinician provide patients with a fuller picture of the disease.
Currently, Oncolab provides the test via submission of samples to its CLIA-certified laboratory in Boston. Serum samples must be shipped via overnight courier, using a standardized shipping container and tubes provided at no cost by Oncolab, dry ice obtained at the lab while doing the blood draw, and separation to serum. The test is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and reimbursed by Medicare.
Today, the majority of samples being run are drawn in the US and Canada; overseas labs can also ship samples and are urged to contact Oncolab to get a technical and business relationship started.
The AMAS test, by Oncolab, is a pioneering cancer diagnostic test measuring levels of a circulating antibody which is elevated in nearly all types of cancer. The test has been run for over 60,000 patients at Oncolab's CLIA-certified facility in Boston. The test is able to detect early cases of cancer recurrence, a major concern for 17 million Americans. This year is the company's debut at the AACC (American Association for Clinical Chemistry), being held in Chicago - booth #4051.