Biomarkers for prognosis, prevention and treatment of liver metastasis


Biomarkers for prognosis, prevention, and treatment of liver metastasis


Market Need

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world and is the second most common cancer in both men and women in Australia. The risk of being diagnosed by age 85 is 1 in 10 for men, and 1 in 15 for women.

The majority of CRC related deaths are attributable to liver metastasis, the most critical prognostic factor observed in approximately 50% of CRC patients. However, to date there is no clinical test to predict metastatic risk and allow informed selection of a preventative treatment regimen.

Therefore, identification of new biomarkers for prognosis, diagnosis and treatment of CRC, particularly with regard to metastasis of the liver, is a critical medical need.


The Technologies

Two unique molecules have been identified as potential biomarkers for CRC

Levels of the first molecule (sHLA-G) are associated with distinct progression patterns in consecutive disease stages, which indicates its potential value as a surrogate marker in the differential prognosis of colorectal cancer.

The second marker is a signalling molecule, low levels of which have been shown to be a strong predictor of hepatic metastatic progression in colorectal cancer patients.

The technologies are both in their early phases of development, but have the potential to function as either a diagnostic, therapeutic or indicator of response to therapy, subject to additional investment and experimentation.


Research team

The research team responsible for this technology is based within the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research, the productive research arm of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Dr Ehud Hauben - Senior Medical Scientist at the Basil Hetzel Institute, Dr Doan Ngo - Senior Medical Scientist at the Basil Hetzel Institute, Prof Guy J Maddern - Head of Research at the Basil Hetzel Institute, Dr Chandra Kirana - Research Officer at the Basil Hetzel Institute.


IP position

A provisional patent which covers the sHLA-G biomarker has been filed as of 10/2/17.

The IP strategy in relation to the second, novel biomarker is currently being considered


Market opportunity

The global cancer biomarkers market is expected to reach USD 15,973.8 Million by 2020, at a CAGR of 11.6% from 2015 to 2020.

The future growth of the cancer biomarkers market will be driven by the Asia-Pacific region, owing to the rising incidence of cancer in this region, increasing use of biomarker tests for diagnosis purposes, expansions of major pharmaceutical companies in emerging Asian economies, and government support to research institutes and universities.


Next steps

A broader clinical study will be undertaken to determine the specificity and sensitivity of the biomarkers in liver metastasis risk prediction. This clinical study will allow the team to collect plasma samples from patients with other cancers, and to compare plasma samples from metastatic and non-metastatic cancer patients.

We are seeking licensing opportunities to progress commercialisation of these technologies, and will look favourably on partners who will support ongoing research in this space for future development.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Kirsten Bernhardt
The University of Adelaide
Ehud Hauben
Guy Maddern
Jennifer Hardingham
Peter Hewett