Spotlight on: Exosome Diagnostics, first to develop RNA-based liquid biopsies

June 5, 2019

Exosome Diagnostics develops and commercializes biofluid-based cancer molecular diagnostics for patient stratification and disease monitoring. They were founded as a private company in 2008. While at Mass Gen Hospital, Johan Skog, PhD, Exosome Diagnostics’ founding scientist and chief scientific officer, discovered that exosomes contain numerous nucleic acids, including DNA and multiple RNA species, which can be harvested with high quality yields and used diagnostically. Dr. Skog and his team’s original findings conducted in blood exosomes of glioblastoma patients were published in Nature Cell Biology (December 2008). This publication was the first to show that tumor mutations could be detected in RNA extracted from a patient’s blood to use diagnostically. This led to the clinical development of several blood and urine RNA-based liquid biopsy tests by Exosome Diagnostics. 

In 2018 Exosome Diagnostics was purchased by Bio-Techne Corporation, and does business as a branded company under the BioTechne umbrella. They have several liquid biopsy products, either available to physicians or in clinical development, including ExoDX Prostate (Intelliscore), which is a urine-based liquid biopsy for prostate cancer, and ExoDX Lung (ALK), which is a blood plasma test for EML4-ALK, which will help doctors detect certain mutations in lung cancer tumors, in order to develop the best treatment plan.

In January of 2019, the ExoDX Prostate (Intelliscore) was included as a recommended test by the NCCN (National Cancer Comprehensive Network) in their oncologist’s guides for early prostate cancer detection. By using this test to help assess a patient's risk for high grade prostate cancer, doctors help guide patients  in deciding whether an invasive prostate biopsy and related complications can be safely avoided or deferred. 

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