A COMPANY founded by York University scientists is working on a blood test for the detection of early stage lung cancer.

Cizzle Biotechnology Limited, a spin-out company from York University and Fujirebio Diagnostics Incorporated (FDI) have announced a co-development and licensing deal for the test.

Under the licence, FDI is granted exclusive rights to patents and technology developed by Cizzle's chief scientist Dr Dawn Coverley of York University's department of biology.

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FDI and Cizzle will work together to develop a commercially valid test.

The test arises from the research of Dr Coverley and colleagues, funded by a group of investors led by the charity Yorkshire Cancer Research, the White Rose Technology Seedcorn Fund and Finance Yorkshire, which demonstrated that an altered form of the protein known as Ciz1 is present in lung cancers and that this altered form can be detected in blood samples of patients, even when the cancer is at a very early stage.

These findings were published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Early detection of lung cancer has been shown to save lives, but current methods for screening at-risk people are either too costly or involve invasive procedures.

For advanced lung cancer, the long-term survival rate is only about 5 per cent. Unlike some other common cancers, survival rates have not improved significantly in more than 30 years and there is an unmet need for new clinical biomarkers in this field.