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07.07.2011 | 110707_PR_Surveys_EN_final

Results of a joint survey by Epigenomics AG and europacolon during the first European Colorectal Cancer Patient Conference; nationwide survey in the U.S. reports similar results. 

Berlin, Germany, and Seattle, WA, U.S.A – Epigenomics AG (Frankfurt Prime Standard: ECX), the cancer molecular diagnostics company, today announced the results of a survey conducted at europacolon’s first European CRC Patient Conference, The Power of Patient Voice 2011, showing that patients believe tests using blood samples would encourage more people to participate in regular screening for colorectal cancer.

Of the participants in the survey, more than 50 % had previously heard of the possibility of CRC blood testing and more than 70 % thought that using a blood test would encourage more people to participate in regular screening for colorectal cancer. Some of the most often mentioned reasons that survey participants gave for preferring blood tests were ease-of-use and simplicity, not having to handle stool samples as necessary for conventional non-invasive testing, and overall fit with other routine blood tests.

The survey was jointly conducted by Epigenomics and europacolon, the first European non-profit organization dedicated to colorectal cancer. europacolon’s mission is to prevent deaths from colorectal cancer and improve the quality of life and support for those affected by the disease. Epigenomics has developed the world’s first in vitro diagnostic blood test for the early detection of colorectal cancer known as the Septin9 Test and fully supports europacolon in its fight against colorectal cancer.

Jola Gore-Booth, the Founder and CEO of europacolon commented: “We are delighted that over 140 delegates from 27 countries globally attended this first ever Colorectal Cancer Patient Conference. The great success of the Conference has given us enormous encouragement in our work to promote the prevention and early diagnosis of colorectal cancer in all European countries. Putting in place formal population screening programs for all the citizens of Europe is essential for effective prevention of colorectal cancer and for saving thousands of lives. A blood test for the early detection of colorectal cancer could remove some of the hurdles to effective compliance to colorectal cancer screening and be instrumental in reducing mortality from this killer disease.”

Independent of the europacolon survey, Quest Diagnostics, one of Epigenomics’ partners in the U.S.A., in June announced, in collaboration with the U.S. non-profit organization Colon Cancer Alliance, the results of a jointly conducted U.S. national telephone survey of more than 1,300 men and women 50 years of age and older. In this survey, 31 % of the participants reported that they had never been screened for CRC. Of the respondents between 60–70 years of age that had previously participated in screening, 33 % stated that they had only been screened once in the past. These results demonstrate widespread lack of adherence to national guidelines in the U.S.A., which recommend regular screening by colonoscopy in combination with other tests for colorectal cancer for all men and women aged 50 and older. When asked about the option of a blood test, 78 % of the participants said that they were likely to take a blood test for colorectal cancer screening and 75 % said they were more likely to get screened more frequently if a blood test was offered to them. The survey results were presented during the Colon Cancer Alliance’s national conference “Family Matters: What You and Your Family Need to Know about Colon Cancer,” which was held June 23–25 in Denver, CO, U.S.A.

Dr. Jürgen Beck, M.D., Senior VP Medical Affairs of Epigenomics, commented: “The lack of widespread acceptance and regular utilization of conventional methods for the early detection of colorectal cancer, such as colonoscopy and stool tests, severely limit the potential of screening to reduce mortality from this common cancer. The two surveys in Europe and the U.S.A. clearly show the potential of blood-based screening as an approach to increase compliance. We expect these findings to be substantiated further through studies into patient preferences and screening adherence that are ongoing at clinical centers in the U.S.A. and Europe.”

Colorectal cancer is curable in more than 90 % of cases if diagnosed while still localized. Nevertheless, this disease is one of the most frequent causes of cancer-related deaths in the industrialized world due to lack of adherence to current screening recommendations.

Contact Epigenomics AG

Dr. Achim Plum
Sen. VP Corporate Development
Epigenomics AG
Tel +49 (0) 30 24345 368
pr@epigenomics.com
www.epigenomics.com

Further information

For further information on europacolon please visit www.europacolon.com.
The 2011 europacolon Colorectal Cancer Patient Conference “The Power of Patient Voice” was held on June 24–25, 2011 alongside the 13th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancers organized by the European Society for Medical Oncology in Barcelona, Spain.

For information on the Colon Cancer Alliance please see www.ccalliance.org.
For press releases on the U.S. survey, please visit Quest Diagnostics’ website or the Colon Cancer Alliance website.

About Epigenomics

Epigenomics is a molecular diagnostics company developing and commercializing a pipeline of proprietary products for cancer. The Company’s products enable doctors to diagnose cancer earlier and more accurately, leading to improved outcomes for patients. Epigenomics’ lead product, Epi proColon®, is a blood-based test for the early detection of colorectal cancer, which is currently marketed in Europe and is in development for the U.S.A. The Company’s technology and products have been validated through multiple partnerships with leading global diagnostic companies including Abbott, Quest Diagnostics, QIAGEN, and Sysmex. Epigenomics is an international company with operations in Europe and the U.S.A.

About europacolon

europacolon is an independent Not for Profit organisation founded in 2005. It is the first European organisation dedicated to colorectal cancer and it aims to unite patients, carers, healthcare professionals, politicians, the media and the public in the fight against the disease. europacolon’s mission is to reduce deaths and improve the quality of life and support for those affected by colorectal cancer in Europe.

Its aims and objectives are to:

  • Prioritise and raise the profile of colorectal cancer
  • Establish patient advocacy groups
  • Create a colorectal cancer community
  • Increase awareness of symptoms and prevention of the disease
  • Campaign for screening and improved choice of treatments
  • Encourage the improvement of European standards and equity of care through the development of National Cancer Plans

Since 2005 europacolon has established dedicated colorectal cancer organisations in 27 European countries: 10 Affiliate Members; 8 Associate Members; and 9 pending Members (Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Finland, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Republic of Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK).

For more information, please visit www.europacolon.com.

Notes for editors

About Colorectal Cancer

For 2011 the American Cancer Society expects an estimated 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer to be diagnosed in the United States and almost 50,000 U.S. citizens to die from the disease. The 5-year survival rate is over 90 % if the disease is treated in early stages but diminishes to about 12 % once the cancer has affected other organs. Today, the majority of cancers are still found in advanced stages due to insufficient patient compliance to screening recommendations that leaves half of the population unscreened. Increasing compliance to regular cancer screening in the population aged 50 years and older is considered key to decreasing mortality from this disease.

Septin9 blood tests for CRC

Epigenomics and its partner Abbott already market their respective first generation CE-marked Septin9 tests in Europe, the Middle East, Asia/Pacific and further markets. Epigenomics is in the process of developing a second generation Septin9 assay as a colorectal cancer screening test for the U.S. and European markets. Epigenomics expects to submit this enhanced Septin9 colorectal cancer screening test branded Epi proColon® 2.0 to the FDA for regulatory review before year-end 2011. Under licenses from Epigenomics, Septin9 testing is currently offered in the U.S.A. by Quest Diagnostics (ColoVantage™) and ARUP Laboratories (Methylated Septin9 Test) as laboratory-developed tests aiding in the detection of colorectal cancer.

Epigenomics legal disclaimers. This communication expressly or implicitly contains certain forward-looking statements concerning Epigenomics AG and its business. Such statements involve certain known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause the actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of Epigenomics AG to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Epigenomics AG is providing this communication as of this date and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
The information contained in this communication does not constitute nor imply an offer to sell or transfer any product, and no product based on this technology is currently available for sale by Epigenomics in the United States or Canada. The analytical and clinical performance characteristics of any Epigenomics product based on this technology which may be sold at some future time in the U.S. have not been established.