Bringing Better Breast Cancer Tests to Market
UCalgary biomedical engineers have partnered with a group in South Korea to create Syantra Diagnostics, a company that is commercializing superior diagnostic tests for breast cancer.
With just a tiny sample from a tumour and a bit of blood, they can determine the type of breast cancer a patient has and their risk level. It’s faster than other tests, more precise, easy to administer and doesn’t require shipping or a sophisticated lab. It also removes the need for a second round of testing, so doctors can get the information they need sooner to start their patients on the right treatments.
“Our first test speeds up one of the first steps in diagnosing cancer — measuring levels of key molecules,” says Bob Shepherd, the president and co-founder of Syantra and research associate in the Schulich School of Engineering. “This kit determines levels of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and epidermal growth factor receptor.”
Syantra has also discovered some new molecules that are associated with advancing cancer. “By looking for these early, we expect to improve outcomes for not only breast cancer, but cervical and prostate disease, too,” Shepherd says. U