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Patent of the Week: A More Accurate Cancer Diagnosis for Improved Treatment Planning

Patent of the Week

Two cancer researchers at the University of Chicago in 1995 hypothesized that there was an intermediate state for patients with metastatic cancer. They called this state “oligometastasis,” which is Greek for “a few that spread.”

Though the oligometastasis concept has, until recently, been challenged due to a lack of data, researchers in 2018 published findings confirming the hypothesis that a state exists between single and widespread, metastatic cancers.

“Metastases are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths and frequently are widely disseminated, which has led to the prevailing view that metastases are always widespread,” the researchers explained. “The oligometastasis hypothesis suggests that metastatic spread is a spectrum of virulence where some metastases are limited both in number and organ involvement and potentially curable with surgical resection or other loco-regional therapies.”

The researchers’ findings, which may be applicable to various metastatic cancers, “provide a framework for integrated classification and treatment of metastasis and support the biological basis of curable oligometastatic colorectal cancer,” the researchers said.

From this research, a patent-pending test was developed to more accurately classify patients. According to the inventors – including Sean Pitroda, MD, UChicago assistant professor of radiation and cellular oncology – the integrated “clinical risk score” can be used to better inform patient treatment, among other benefits.

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// Patent of the Week is a weekly column highlighting research and inventions from University of Chicago faculty.

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