Roche has launched a new assay that can detect the HER2 biomarker in breast and gastric cancer in the UK.

HER2 – the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 - is an important biomarker found in breast and gastric cancers, and its detection and inhibition can help to more effectively manage aggressive cancers such as breast and gastric.

The test, dubbed the VENTANA HER2 Dual ISH DNA Probe Cocktail assay, is designed to be completed within the same day, providing clinicians the ability to get results back substantially quicker than the most common methods of confirmatory testing for HER2 which can currently take several weeks to come back. Results can be read using light microscopy, eliminating the need for a specialised fluorescence microscope.

The test “advances Roche’s commitment to personalised healthcare by delivering critical information on treatment options for breast and gastric cancer patients faster,” said Michael Heuer, chief executive Roche Diagnostics. “Quick results are crucial in the fight against cancer, and every additional day that a clinician and a patient must wait for test results is a day too long.”

There were more than 55,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer in the UK in 2015, and more than 11,500 deaths from breast cancer in the UK in 2016. About 13 to 20% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are HER2 positive.

The test is currently being launched in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as Latin America and Asia Pacific and will then be submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for approval.