A Pune based startup company called ” Actorius Innovations and Research Private Limited ” has developed a technology that can detect cancer at an early stage. Yes, you heard it right, cancer. The technology, developed by them incubated at Pashan-based Venture Centre, will enable doctors monitor the efficacy of their treatments and make changes to the dose if necessary.
The current state:
Every year, hundreds of people fall prey to cancer as it’s not detected timely or sooner. The standard currently available to detect them is very expensive for a regular patient. Despite that there is also the barrier for availability of such expensive as they cannot be available at all hospitals.
The Game changer :
Actorius Innovations, explains that 90 per cent of deaths related to cancer are due to metastasis (spread of cancer) and only 10 per cent due to the primary tumor. Cancer cells shed by the primary tumor into the blood stream are known as circulating tumor cells (CTC). These cells travel to other organs to form new tumors thus effectively spreading cancer in the body. An accurate determination of the number of CTCs is important as it can help doctors with a prediction of survival for cancer patients. However, CTCs are hard to detect in the blood as their presence is one in a billion cells.
The current gold standard for CTC detection, the US-based FDAcleared Cellsearch technology, requires 7.5 ml of blood, and the report takes at least 12 days to generate and costs can go above $2,500 (approx. Rs 1,75,000). For cancer patients, the tests are often required to be conducted three to four times a year. The start-up has received multiple technology commercialisation grants from the Union government. The company estimates the cost of the test to be around Rs 7,000 at present and aims to lower this further.
OncoDiscover, the patented technology developed by Actorius Innovations, contains proprietary `smart’ materials that can detect and capture CTC in just 1.5 ml of blood. The blood is analysed for CTC count using a high resolution fluorescent microscope. The company staes that recently, clinical trials of 250 patients were conducted successfully. They will start new clinical trials with a top cancer hospital in Pune within a fortnight and with another prominent cancer hospital in Mumbai within a couple of months.
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