Calgary-made blood test set to revolutionize breast cancer treatment
CALGARY – Detecting cancer as early as possible is important to achieving the best possible treatment success. This year, more than 1000 women in Calgary will undergo a liquid (blood) biopsy this year, alongside their regular mammogram as part of an international clinical trial designed to test a new way of detecting breast cancer.
Alberta Innovates, the Alberta Cancer Foundation and DynaLIFE have partnered to fund $1.2 million for this next stage of evaluation for Syantra, the University of Calgary spin-off company that created a non-invasive blood test and is developing it for commercialization within the next two years. Syantra has partnered with the UCalgary for the Calgary arm of the clinical study.
Last year Alberta Innovates, the Alberta Cancer Foundation and DynaLIFE joined together to help commercialize Alberta-owned innovations that will detect cancer earlier and improve treatment for Albertans. The $2.5 million challenge is part of Alberta Innovates’ Alberta Small Business Innovation and Research Initiative (ASBIRI) program.
Dr. Kristina Rinker, lead of UCalgary’s Charbonneau Cancer Institute’s Early Cancer Detection Initiative and associate professor in the Centre for Bioengineering Research and Education, helped develop the test through her research program.
Syantra, the second recipient announced in this challenge, says the new funds will allow them to focus on expanding the scope of the test with a goal of initiating applications in breast cancer screening within two to three years. Results from this study will also generate the data that is necessary to provide the test to the market. Through this program, blood samples are being collected in Calgary, Oklahoma City, and Manchester UK, with new sites planned for Edmonton, Vancouver and Seoul, South Korea.
The clinical study is currently enrolling women recruitment between 25 and 80 years old with no previous history of cancer.
Currently, the test is being developed to supplement the information provided to women with dense breast tissue or other factors that complicate interpretation of mammography results. Blood test outcomes will provide a strong indication of who may need an immediate biopsy and who may benefit from entering an imaging surveillance program. Future expansion of the study will enable the test to supplement mammography for a wide range of women, with screening and pre-screening applications being a primary goal, particularly for women who are younger than 50 and/or who have dense breast tissue.
Media inquiries may be directed to:
Phoebe Dey, VP Communications & Marketing
Alberta Cancer Foundation
Dwayne Brunner, Manager, Media Relations