Biocept, a molecular diagnostics company focused on liquid biopsies for cancer, recently announced an expansion of its product portfolio with the launch of a blood test for PD-L1 protein expression – a crucial tool for determining immuno-oncology treatment.
PD-L1 is a molecule often expressed on the surface of various cancer cells, allowing a tumor to avoid being targeted by the immune system. Immunotherapy approaches for cancer show tremendous success rates, and studies show that if a tumor expresses high levels of PD-L1 certain cancer immune therapies are likely to be effective.
The test builds on Biocept’s proprietary platform Target Selector, where cancer cells found in the blood of cancer patients are used to identify and monitor PD-L1 protein expression while a patient receives therapy.
“Immunotherapy is among today’s most promising approaches to improving the outcomes of patients with cancer and shows even greater potential in the future as drugs currently in development come to market,” Biocept’s President and CEO Michael Nall said in a news release.
Nall said Biocept could have the only commercial CLIA-validated, blood-based test for detecting PD-L1 expression.
“Our test provides a new option for physicians to qualify patients for approved immuno-oncology therapies and for companies in developing these breakthrough therapies. With the commercial introduction of our PD-L1 test, we again demonstrate our ability to execute on a high-priority business initiative to broaden our commercial liquid biopsy test offering and open a new market opportunity for Biocept,” Nall said.
Until recently, determining how much PD-L1 a tumor produces has been an arduous task, requiring invasive tissue biopsies. A blood test provides a superior way of testing the PD-L1 status of patients, which is often needed before beginning a therapy.
“This test could be particularly compelling for patients with recurrent or progressive disease,” said Veena Singh, Biocept’s senior vice president and senior medical director. “It also has application in instances in which the tumor is heterogeneous in its PD-L1 expression. Our test, which is based on CTCs in blood, could show PD-L1 expression missed by multiple tissue samples from the same tumor.”