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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    QUT oral cancer saliva-test attracts global healthcare company

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Monday, June 26, 2017

    QUT oral cancer saliva-test attracts global healthcare company

    The Palaszczuk Government has welcomed an agreement between Queensland University of Technology’s commercialisation arm bluebox and a global healthcare company to evaluate and develop a saliva-based test for the early detection of oral cancer.

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch - who last week attended the BIO 2017 International Convention in San Diego with the Premier - said bluebox had signed a deal with MDxHealth, a multinational healthcare company headquartered in Belgium.

    “This remarkable and very clever piece of research has the potential to save thousands of lives globally,” Ms Enoch said. “We have enormous capability in Queensland, evidenced by the talent of our researchers and the strength of our scientific infrastructure.”

    Oral cancer has a significant global incidence with over 1,500 cases diagnosed annually in Australia and over 20,000 in the US. Early detection is key to survival, but noticeable symptoms appear at a more advanced stage when there is a less favourable prognosis.

    Ms Enoch said the agreement with MDxHealth could ultimately see the test commercialised globally, with proceeds going back to Australia to support further research and translational activities at QUT.

    “The Palaszczuk Government sees the potential for life sciences to be a great industry for Queensland, and this is why we attended BIO - to showcase what we have in Queensland to the world,” Ms Enoch said.

    “And this agreement by QUT just goes to show that we are making our mark globally.”

    The saliva-based test was created by Associate Professor Chamindie Punyadeera from QUT’s School of Biomedical Sciences and the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI). The test is expected to facilitate much earlier detection of oral cancer by a variety of medical specialists, including general practitioners, oncologists and dentists.

    “After collecting a simple non-invasive saliva swab, samples will be sent to a lab or tested on site to determine if a patient requires further investigation,” Associate Professor Punyadeera said.

    “The test has the potential to detect early precancerous lesions which will be key to improving overall survival.”

    The test investigates abnormal DNA methylation changes in saliva as a proxy to early tumour events. Methylation of DNA is one way that cells regulate gene activity and abnormal methylation indicates a patient may have a higher risk of cancer.

    MDxHealth is a growing multinational healthcare company with methylation diagnostics for prostate, bladder and other urologic cancers.

    QUT bluebox is QUT’s innovation, venture and investment company. QUT bluebox provided IP management, go-to-market funding, industry engagement, licensing, commercialisation advice and support for the deal.

    ENDS

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