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Available Technologies/Patents



Drs. Richard Boland and Ajay Goel of Baylor Scott & White Research Institute (BSWRI) have produced a vast body of significant research in gastrointestinal cancer (GI), particularly colorectal cancer (CRC), and are considered leaders in this field. GI cancers account for a quarter of all cancer deaths in the Western world. Colorectal cancer is the most prevalent of GI cancers, causing 600,000 deaths worldwide each year, and is the second biggest cause of cancer death in the US. Colorectal cancer is also a significant contributor to US health care costs, with over $12 billion spent on treatment each year. Fortunately, colorectal cancer can be readily and effectively treated when detected early, and there are growing numbers of treatment options that can benefit patients.


As a consequence of their research to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that underlie colorectal and other GI cancers, Drs. Boland and Goel have discovered and validated a large number of novel biomarkers that are potentially clinically useful.


Biomarkers for Diagnosis, Prognosis, Treatment Response and Monitoring


Using a multiplicity of molecular approaches, BSWRI researchers have identified a diverse range of novel colorectal cancer biomarkers, including DNA, mRNA, microRNA and DNA methylation-based biomarkers. The potential clinical applications of these biomarkers are broad, and include, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment prediction and monitoring of colorectal and other GI cancers, as well as patient stratification for clinical trials. Notably, most of these biomarkers have been validated using clinical samples from large patient cohorts and have been described in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals. These biomarkers offer three benefits which are key to clinical and commercial success:


1. Multiple applications - Novel, proprietary biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of CRC and other GI cancer

2. Stand-alone or multiplexed - The biomarkers can potentially be used in stand-alone assays, or as part of multiplexed assays to achieve greater sensitivity and specificity

3. Integration – The biomarkers are compatible with standard molecular platforms and workflows


Potential clinical applications that can be addressed using the biomarkers include:

  • Cancer screening
  • Differential diagnosis between colorectal cancer with metastasis and without metastasis
  • Diagnosis of other GI cancers (esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, hepatic, etc.)
  • Planning of cancer treatment
  • Evaluation of cancer prognosis
  • Monitoring of patients during and after treatment
  • Surveillance in high risk patients (e.g. hereditary predisposition)
  • Cancer research, including clinical development
  • Development of blood-based assays


New Biomarkers for Routine Blood-Based Testing of Colorectal Cancer


Effective treatment of colorectal cancer is dependent on detection of the cancer at an early stage of progression. The growing use of colonoscopy over the last 45 years has aided in reducing the mortality associated with colorectal cancer, thanks to early detection. Nonetheless, public acceptance of colonoscopy is low, with fewer than 50% of individuals 50 years or older receiving colonoscopies. While blood-based tests such as the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and the Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) exist, their poor accuracy has limited their clinical utility. In recent years, there have been significant efforts to develop blood-based tests with improved sensitive and specificity.


Recently, Drs. Goel and Boland have discovered and validated novel serum biomarkers, miR-21 and miR-200c, which show great promise as blood test analytes for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment monitoring of colorectal cancer. Importantly, these biomarkers, either alone or in concert with other biomarkers, can form the basis of a blood-based diagnostic test that is accurate, relatively non-invasive and sufficiently inexpensive to be useful for routine clinical testing, including screening and longitudinal monitoring.



Patents have been filed for each of these innovations and are available for licensing. In addition to licensing, there are opportunities for partnering and collaboration to further advance these technologies.





MicroRNAs (miRNA) as Biomarkers for the Identification of Familial and Non-Familial Colorectal Cancer

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MSH3 Expression Status Determines the Responsiveness of Cancer Cells to the Chemotherapeutic Treatment with PARP Inhibitors and Platinum Drugs

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A novel tetraplex PCR for detecting DNA mismatch repair-deficient colorectal cancers 

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Long interspersed nuclear elements (line-1) and alu hypomethylation as biomarkers for colorectal cancer metastasis

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LINE-1 Hypomethylation as a Biomarker for Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer

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Changes in the Expression of miR-200c/141 cluster of microRNAs as biomarkers for epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in human colorectal cancer metastasis 

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Micro RNA-148a as a Biomarker for Advanced Colorectal Cancer

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Identification of metastasis-specific miRNA and hypomethylation signatures in human colorectal cancer

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Identification of MicroRNAs (miRNAs) in Fecal Samples as Biomarkers for Gastroenterological Cancers

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Tissue and blood-based miRNA biomarkers for the diagnosis, prognosis and metastasis-predictive potential in colorectal cancer

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Ulcerative colitis (uc)-associated colorectal neoplasia markers

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