Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly occurring cancer in men, and the second in women. Yet every year 130 million people around the world between the ages of 50-74 remain unscreened.
Rhythm Biosciences (ASX: RHY) are not complacent with that number and are working on an innovative solution to aid diagnosis of this major health problem.
Recognising the issue, public health authorities have long been urging Australian’s to get tested for colorectal cancer. Under the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, Australian’s aged between 50 and 74 receive a free home screening kit in the mail every two years. The 2018-19 federal budget allowed for $35 million over four years to fund the recall of people who received a positive test result but have not attended their GP to follow up.
The current market standard diagnostic test for colorectal cancer is the faecal immunochemical test (FIT). Rhythm’s offering, ColoSTAT® is a simple blood test that offers higher accuracy than the FIT, at a lower cost.
Rhythm recently announced study results showing that ColoSTAT® was able to perform with an accuracy of 84%, outperforming the current market standard.
The Company is further expanding their testing functionality with their algorithm now able to take into account Lifestyle Related Factors (LRFs) such as diet, weight, exercise and smoking status. These factors are proven to affect the incidence and mortality of the cancer. The addition of LRFs has demonstrated an increased testing accuracy of 5%. Further studies are being carried out to determine if the LRF enhancement will be integrated with Rhythm’s core cancer detection technology for the final testing product.
Their proprietary algorithm and AI framework allows for ColoSTAT® to be easily used in labs and eliminates the need for additional operator training and additional infrastructure, thereby reducing the cost of screening. The AI framework learns as the database of results grows which offers the potential for further performance improvement in the future.
By increasing screening rates, the Company hopes to help reduce morbidity and mortality rates and lower the costs associated with colorectal cancer.
There clearly is a demand for a better solution and with market potential of over $6.5 billion, Rhythm is well positioned to tap in.