Pacific Edge's patent guard

Dunedin cancer diagnostic company Pacific Edge has been granted patent protection by the United States Patent Office for ''prognosis prediction for melanoma'' - a crucial move further broadening its product development into a variety of cancer types.

Pacific Edge's mainstay line is its diagnostic Cx-bladder product, but the US patent covers the technology being used to develop a melanoma prognostic test, to distinguish aggressive and life-threatening melanomas from those not as aggressive.

Following a trading halt, Pacific Edge shares resumed, up almost 5% at 86c.

Melanoma prognosis patents are already held in China and New Zealand, but under the US patent, Pacific Edge has partnered with the Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research, the world's largest non-profit cancer research organisation, to develop the technology, Pacific Edge chief executive David Darling said.

''This successful partnership has enabled Pacific Edge to develop the prototype product for detecting aggressiveness in stage 3 melanomas,'' he said.

The test applied a gene signature to melanoma tissue samples to detect its aggressiveness, allowing doctors to prescribe the correct level of treatment.

''It is the aggressive tumours that will kill you. Specifically, the test in development identifies aggressiveness in stage 3 melanomas,'' Mr Darling said.

Already being heavily marketed in the US, Cx-bladder is a quick, cost-effective, non-invasive and highly accurate test to detect bladder cancers.

The company's development programme is seeking to validate Cx-bladdertriage, a new product to segregate those with blood in their urine, but not because of bladder cancer, and Cx-bladderpredict, which determines bladder cancer severity, segregating superficial tumours from invasive tumours.

Pacific Edge's portfolio of intellectual property, in which it invests between $450,000 and $500,000 a year, continues to grow and includes patents for a gastric cancer test, plus melanoma and bladder cancers.

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