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German health insurer BARMER the first to reimburse OncoBEAM RAS-Test for colon cancer patients

Effective immediately, cancer patients insured via BARMER have access to the Sysmex OncoBEAM RAS-Test

Date: 2018-02-12 Tags: Press release

Date: 18 January 2018

Being diagnosed with cancer is a shock. In many cases, timely identification and appropriate therapy is significant. Effective immediately, German colorectal cancer patients insured via BARMER insurers are eligible for a new, innovative diagnostic process that delivers better, personalised treatment.

Diagnostic options for a cancer therapy

To determine a therapy, to date one had to undergo a tissue biopsy. Another option, with doubtful significance, was to investigate an archived tissue section from previous surgical interventions. With the  OncoBEAM RAS-Test using state-of-the-art ‘liquid biopsy’ methodology, you can determine a patient’s current mutation status of the metastasised colorectal carcinoma. This is done using analytics of the circulating tumour DNA in blood plasma and therefore eliminates the need for an invasive tissue biopsy.

Status of liquid biopsy for personalised cancer therapy

Using Sysmex’s OncoBEAM RAS-Test, it may be possible to optimise colon cancer therapy. The liquid biopsy is used to analyse the current mutation status. It integrates information of various tumour damages. In contrast to tissue biopsy there is no need for the risky tumour biopsy. A liquid biopsy is particularly effective in recognising resistance mutations early on, which in turn allows a rapid change in therapy. This is linked to fewer side effects for the patient. The best part: it is possible to see very early on whether the chosen therapy is working. The timely recognition of a colon cancer therapy that’s not working is the decisive benefit for patients battling colon cancer.

Award for Liquid Biopsy diagnostics

The basis for liquid biopsy diagnostics was developed in a cooperation between Professor Vogelstein (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore) and Professor Juhl (Indivumed GmbH, Hamburg). In 2017, the ‘American Association for Cancer Research’ awarded the scientists the AACR-Team Award.

Dr Mani Rafii, Board Member at BARMER: ‘For the use of the new BEAMing Technology, it’s important to us that the method delivers the highest sensitivity and reliability and is used by specialists with significant experience using it. The blood analysis occurs in association with the certified Centre of Excellence in the accredited LADR central laboratory of Dr Kramer & Kollegen.

‘The first reimbursement globally for the innovative diagnostics for colon cancer patients demonstrates that Germany can be a frontrunner in terms of granting access to innovative diagnostic processes,’ says Professor Hartmut Juhl, CEO of IndivuTest GmbH and co-developer of the OncoBEAM process. Professor Jan Kramer, clinical manager at the central laboratory of the LADR Laboratory Association Dr. Kramer & Kollegen, adds, ‘In the context of routine care, we are delighted to be able to contribute to a significant innovation in patient care through the national logistical availability with our partner company Intermed and our accredited laboratory.’

Frank Liedtke, national CEO of BARMER in Hamburg, emphasises, ‘As a health insurer, it is crucial to us that, especially in such a serious condition as colon cancer, we facilitate personalised therapy with the latest methods and use the innovations from cancer research as soon as possible for the benefit of our patients.’


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