Currently, approximately half of cancers are treated using radiotherapy – but almost one in five patients are radiosensitive! Unfortunately, they only find out during treatment as a result of serious side effects (such as dermatitis, mucositis and rectitis). The treatment protocol then needs to be terminated, at the risk of jeopardizing the patient’s chances of recovery. To avoid such an unfortunate and extreme outcome for both the patient and the medical team, Neolys Diagnostics has developed two biological tests to assess radiation sensitivity.
The first, RadioDtect, is a simple blood test carried out by the hospital’s medical biology laboratory or the closest private laboratory, with results obtained in 48 hours. It assesses radiosensitivity or the radioresistance of the healthy tissue of the subject. If the subject is radiosensitive, the physician must find an alternative therapy or the appropriate irradiation dose, or envisage preparatory and support treatment (such as dietary care, psychological care and preventive physical/functional rehabilitation).
The second, RadioProfile, is more advanced, and consists of taking a non-invasive skin sample, followed by an immunofluorescence test in an expert laboratory. The results are delivered in three weeks, with a full report that includes the classification of the patient among the radiosensitivity groups and the prediction on the CTCAE scale (Common Terminology Criteria For Adverse Events; grades 1 to 5) of the potential level of severity of any side effects. It is suitable for patients who have already been identified as being “hyper-radiosensitive” and who have specific profiles (genetic diseases and pediatric cancers). In both cases, the tests do not delay the start of the treatment for the patient.
This technology results from the work of the radiobiology group from the INSERM Unit in Lyon, which revealed the role of a key stress response protein called ATM (Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated). It transits in the cell nucleus to repair DNA double-strand breaks. However, any absence or delay of this protein leads to a specific level of radiosensitivity. The Neolys Diagnostics tests are based on the analysis of this protein.
“When a patient is fighting cancer, they are not fighting the side effects. The Neolys Diagnostics radiosensitivity tests promote their quality of life and recovery by guiding them towards the most effective treatment,” Patrick Barhoum, Marketing & Business Developer at Neolys Diagnostics.
Around ten public and private medical establishments in France and Europe have already adopted these solutions.
A third test targeting radioresistance and the radiosensitivity of the tumor is being developed. The results of a multicentric clinical trial, with around forty patients suffering from rectal and esophageal cancers, are currently being analyzed. It is planned that this new solution will be put on the market in 2024.
There are approximately 20 million new cases of cancers each year around the world, and almost 2 million in North America. The North American market therefore offers enormous opportunities for Neolys, which is able to differentiate itself from its competitors. “Our tests are not expensive and are applicable to all types of cancers. The other companies positioned in this segment do not use the same technology. They are less effective and are less consistent with the expectations of clinical trials.”
The company, which is a winner of the Next French Healthcare Program, has received a list of prospects in the USA and Canada that correspond to the preferred targets: radiotherapists and oncologists (for the most part decision-makers or KOLs). “We need their support, in particular with the FDA and distributors,” Patrick Barhoum pointed out. Neolys will meet up with them one-to-one over the two weeks of roadshows planned for November, in both countries.