Exact Sciences Corporation announced that a United States patent was issued that covers the use of differentially methylated vimentin as a marker for the detection of colon cancer.

The issued patent, expiring in 2024, "Methods and Compositions for Detecting Colon Cancers," United States Patent No. 7,485,420, describes, in part, assays for the detection of methylation within a vimentin nucleotide sequence.

Studies have demonstrated that methylation of vimentin DNA is associated with the presence of colorectal cancer. Through its license agreement with Case Western Reserve University, Exact has exclusive worldwide rights to the vimentin gene technology for non-invasive stool-based detection of colorectal cancer and pre-malignant colorectal polyps.

"We are pleased that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued this important patent around methylated vimentin, a gene that contributed vastly to the sensitivity for our Version 2 technology in the 2008 Itzkowitz study," said Jeffrey R. Luber, president and chief executive officer of Exact Sciences. "We have long been focused on building a formidable patent estate around non-invasive colorectal cancer screening, and this latest patent issuance provides additional strength to our broad franchise."

"Witnessing the development from the lab bench to the now issued patent of methylated vimentin testing for colon cancer is extremely gratifying to me as a cancer researcher," commented Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, of Case Western Reserve University Department of Medicine, the developer of the technology.

"We have long believed in the diagnostic power of methylated vimentin for the non-invasive early detection of colorectal cancer from stool. I believe that a non-invasive test for colorectal cancer based on the vimentin gene marker can lead to early detection and thereby save lives. I am pleased to see today's patent issuance around this discovery."

Exact Sciences Corporation uses applied genomics to develop patient-friendly screening technologies for use in the detection of cancer. Exact has established a strategic relationship with Genzyme to, among other things, facilitate the development of the company's next-generation stool-based DNA (sDNA) technology.