The future of cancer diagnostics
While biopsies of tumors are currently considered the gold-standard practice, they are invasive procedures that typically require surgery or needles. Often there’s insufficient tissue to analyze, or a tumor is precariously located, making a biopsy unsafe. Tissue biopsies can detect the presence of cancer, but they’re inadequate for monitoring people for relapse or identifying the need for alternative treatments.
Scientists have during the last decade developed liquid biopsies - tests that search for evidence of cancer in a person’s bloodstream. The ability to isolate and study CTCs as well as ctDNA and EV in blood and other body fluids is expected to become a critical factor in future diagnostic, prognostic and personalized therapeutic cancer programs, which holds for the major solid tumor cancers as well as for leukemia.
Some of these tests are used today to help guide the treatment of people already diagnosed with cancer, tests that by themselves are ready to transform cancer care. But a liquid biopsy, that detects the disease at its earliest stage in apparently healthy people, is the ultimate goal - and one that is attracting investors and skeptics alike.
The difference between tissue and liquid biopsies can be likened to the difference between wired and wireless technology. Everything wireless has allowed us to do is pretty mind-boggling, and it is believed that the same thing will happen when people get access to tumor information from blood and other body fluids.
GreinDx AS is developing a first of its kind, proprietary (patent application, Dec 2018), comprehensive bench-top system that can capture and study CTCs, ctDNA, and EVs from a single blood sample or other body fluids.
Our core technology is a porous surface of crystalline material of silicon-organic framework characterized by ordered structure, uniform porosity, and high surface area that are the ideal attributes for fluid separation, sorting its constituents and storing them.
The organic building blocks are our short proprietary peptides tailored towards a specific biomarker, with ends that allow controlled linking with other peptides or the silicon surface. The modular assemblage allows precise patterning that ensures structural and functional control over the sorting process.
The ctDNA, EVs, and other cancer-specific macromolecules are captured by dividing the same blood sample into millions of nano-sized droplets that are filtered through and probed individually with affinity peptides allowing their further investigation, by PCR or biochemical analysis.
Our bench-top system will provide soluble factors via a microfluidic system, live cell imaging and online electrochemical measurement via a pair of well-specific electrodes, allowing pharmaceutical assaying of the captured cells.