Bladder CancerBiomarkers used in cancer diagnostics speed up the process significantly and enhance the quality of early stage cancer detection and screening. Abbot Laboratories, a leader in the cancer biomarker market, has acquired exclusive rights for FGFR3 gene mutations for use in detecting bladder cancer.

Developed at Institut Curie, the FGFR3 gene mutation is useful for early detection, disease monitoring, and prognosis of bladder cancer through tissue and urine-based testing. With this license, Abbott can expand its scientific commitment and market leadership in molecular diagnostics and bladder cancer. The company’s cancer biomarker’s market recently earned a profit of $905 million, significantly higher to their profits of $589 million last year.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 74,000 new cases of bladder cancer will be diagnosed in 2015. According to the report on Abbott’s acquisition, activating FGFR3 gene mutations are useful biomarkers to assist in early detection as they are present in about 70% of low-grade and 15 to 20% of high-grade bladder cancer cases. Given their role in early detection, disease monitoring, and predicting patient outcomes, experts say that FGFR3 provide clinicians with an opportunity to help improve bladder cancer patient outcomes and quality of life.

This analysis assay will be made available through PersonalizeDx, Abbott’s CLIA laboratory, in early 2015, complementing PersonalizeDx’s growing urology-focused testing portfolio. Abbott Molecular is also independently developing reagents for further studies as well as exploring collaborations with pharmaceutical companies on the use of the FGFR3 test and other biomarkers as companion diagnostics for emerging bladder cancer therapies.

Abbott currently offers UroVysion, the only urine-based molecular test for bladder cancer approved by the FDA. This test is included in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and European Association of Urology guidelines.

Susan Jewell, PhD, associate director, scientific affairs, Molecular Diagnostics, Abbott, says "By offering two tests, FGFR3 mutations and UroVysion, we are poised to help doctors diagnose a larger number of bladder cancer patients earlier, when treatment is most successful".