Israel’s Micromedic Technologies has identified several new genetic markers with high potential to predict necrosis of the jawbone in patients taking bisphosphonate drugs for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.

Upon confirmation of these findings from a trial conducted at the Tel Hashomer Medical Center, Micromedic plans to develop a diagnostic test for people with multiple myeloma and possibly for others taking bisphosphonates, such as people with breast or prostate cancer and people with osteoporosis.

The trial was designed to identify the unique genetic profile that enables the assessment of risk among cancer patients to develop the devastating side effect known as bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw, or BRONJ.

BRONJ appears in approximately 500,000 cancer patients each year, with a prevalence rate of up to 18.6 percent among multiple myeloma patients, 1.2%-12% among breast cancer patients, 6.5%-7% among prostate cancer patients and up to 0.1% among osteoporosis patients taking bisphosphonates.

In response to growing concern about BRONJ, in 2005 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a broad drug class warning about this complication.

Micromedic has filed three new patent applications covering the newly discovered markers and is preparing to conduct testing to validate the findings.

“To our knowledge there is no effective method on the market to identify the population at risk of developing the BRONJ side effect. … Given the FDA’s warning on these drugs, we believe there will be an extremely receptive market for a test assay,” said Micromedic CEO Steven Eitan.

The Ramat Gan-based company invests in, manages and promotes products for the early detection of cancers, with an emphasis on personalized medical treatments .