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Cancer diagnosis while you wait


A new device being developed by biotechnology company, QuantuMDx with Newcastle University expertise could cut the time to diagnose a tumour from weeks to under 20 minutes.

The ground-breaking Q-CANCER project will integrate QuantuMDx Group’s rapid on-chip lab processes and develop the first device that can profile a tumour in under 20 minutes.

QuantuMDx’s Medical Director Professor Sir John Burn who is also Professor of Clinical Genetics at Newcastle University, said: “We have a world-leading position to deliver complex DNA tumour testing to the routine pathology lab or even to the operating theatre.

This is a low-cost device requiring no technical expertise which will extract, amplify and analyse tumour DNA to make sure the patient gets the right treatment first time and without delay."

QuantuMDx say that when it is commercialised within the next three years, the device will have a dramatic impact on the rapid and accurate diagnosis and staging of cancer. Using QuantuMDx Group’s platform technology they are building a low cost, fully integrated, sample-to-result benchtop device. This will enable either histopathologists or lab technicians to perform multiplex genotyping and tumour staging and profiling within minutes.

They will also be able to use formalin fixed or fresh tissue samples which will allow easy integration into standard practice.

Q-CANCER has the potential to ease the suffering and prolong the lives of the 12.7 million newly- diagnosed cancer sufferers globally. It will enable surgeons to immediately remove most, if not all of the tumour, and will allow oncologists to prescribe the correct treatment regime according to the type of cancer.

Elaine Warburton, CEO of QuantuMDx said: “Currently, tumour samples are sent away to a centralised sequencing laboratory, which can take several weeks to turn around results, usually at a very high price which is not routinely affordable to many economies.

“As far as we are aware, QuantuMDx’s current underlying technologies - which can break up a sample and extract the DNA in under five minutes, carry out 25-30 cycle PCR in under 10 minutes and detect hundreds of DNA targets within minutes - represents a world first for complex molecular diagnostics.

“To now integrate these into a very low cost tumour-profiling device, producing results in minutes, represents a life-long goal for QuantuMDx’s founders."

(Photo and report adapted from QuantuMDx press release)

published on: 1 November 2012