Novel Biomarker for Risk Assessment and Treatment Evaluation for Patients with Fibrosis Dispositions

(Ref. No. 396-EC)


Cancer develops and progresses as the microenvironment undergoes dynamic changes. The body reacts similarly to a cancer as it does to a wound, causing scar-like tissue (desmoplasia) to be built around (and within) the tumor. As such, the surrounding and intratumoral stroma plays a very important role in the progression of cancer. While scars are associated with the desmoplastic response of various cancers, not all scars reflect malignant tumors. There is a need to characterize the stroma to determine between those that are benign or patient beneficial and those that are patient detrimental. The state of the art analyses based on genetic testing and gene expression do not give the information that can impact prognosis and treatment efficacy.


Researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center have developed a method to determine the level and cellular localization of active alpha-5-beta-1 integrin (and other markers) in a cancer biopsy. This test is on the use of the antibody SNAKA51 that specifically binds to an active conformation of alpha-5-beta-1 integrin. The detection of active levels of this biomarker, in relation to common markers such as non-receptor tyrosine kinase pFAK, is a strong indicator of the patient’s cancer stroma is protective or detrimental. In addition, it serves as the basis of an accurate prognosis of the cancer, selection of treatment regimen and monitoring of treatment efficacy. The test is fully developed for analysis of solid samples and is implemented to accompany a clinical trial to monitor if changes in the stroma will impact drug effectiveness.

Franco-Barraza J. et al. Matrix-regulated integrin αvβ5 maintains α5β1-dependent desmoplastic traits prognostic of neoplastic recurrence. eLife. 2017; 6: e20600.

Patent Status: Patent pending

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