Cancer is the most challenging disease we face. With more than 100 types, the majority of cancers have in common their ability to proliferate indefinitely due to their ability to achieve immortality through their ability to maintain telomere length. Telomeres, the protective caps found on the ends of chromosomes, normally shorten in cellular division in healthy somatic cells, until reaching critically short lengths, when they enter into senescence. This biological process is a mechanism specifically designed to protect the organism against chromosomal mutations and cancers.
When this mechanism fails, and pre-malignant cells escape this process, they can begin to upregulate the enzyme telomerase which repairs and re-lengthens telomeres, conferring effective immortality on these cells and allowing the now cancerous cells to proliferate.
ONCOCHECK is a two-year clinical study being carried out by Life Length (www.lifelength.com), the world leader in telomere diagnostics, with its proprietary Telomere Analysis Technology® (TAT®) and related assays that require only a simple blood sample. The results of these tests will allow oncologists to better predict and evaluate disease progression in patients affected by the great majority of cancers.
ONCOCHECK’s objective is the clinical validation of Telomere-Related Variables (TRV’s) as cancer biomarkers. For this purpose, different molecular biomarkers will be tested with Life Length’s proprietary diagnostic assays using cancer patients’ blood samples coming from individuals affected by both solid tumors as well as hematological (blood) cancers.
ONCOCHECK is based on the measurement and evaluation of variables related to telomere biology as measured in PBMCs (Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells), also known as white blood cells, which are affected by cancer. The great advantage of Life Length’s TAT® test over any competing blood test for cancer tumor markers is that it will serve for monitoring virtually all types of cancer. Competing tumor marker based solutions are useful only for a specific cancer/tumor. Therefore, Life Length’s assays will offer a unique and universal solution for cancer monitoring.
With over 7,000 peer-reviewed scientific and clinical journal articles published on the role of telomeres and telomerase in cancer, measuring telomere length as a biomarker for cancer diagnosis and prognosis is well established.