New Test Detects Treatable Lung Cancer Gene

Abbott test detects ALK changes in NSCLC

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Days after receiving U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, the Abbott ALK test for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has become available in the United States, European Union and New Zealand.

A new molecular test detects changes in a gene called ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase). This gene can be targeted with existing therapies.

"Abbott ALK Test IDs treatable lung cancer gene pathway."

NSCLC is usually diagnosed in advanced stages and very few people survive the disease. NSCLC makes up some 85 percent of all lung cancers.

Roughly four percent of NSCLC patients carry mutated ALK genes. Existing drug therapies can target and block the ALK pathway.

The Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH probe kit - more commonly called the Abbott ALK test - uses the company's proprietary FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) technology to pick up rearrangements in the gene.

Stafford O’Kelly, head of Abbott’s molecular diagnostics business, says understanding the genetic and molecular underpinnings of lung cancer may lead to better ways to treat the number one cancer in the United States.

This technology will be used to evaluate new therapies for lung cancer and other diseases in studies around the world.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 30, 2011
Last Updated:
September 3, 2011