New non-invasive diagnostic test for early-stage lung cancer

A non-invasive diagnostic test for early-stage bronchial carcinoma (lung cancer) was presented at White Rose Bioscience Forum in York yesterday (03 November).

Developed by Sheffield-based company Medis Diagnostics Ltd, the test - Fortel Bca - provides a reliable and accurate method of diagnosing early stage lung cancer through the analysis of a small blood sample which looks for cellular changes. The test uses data from a specially chosen panel of seven biomarkers, which, together with a patented ‘fuzzy logic’ mathematical process, provides the clinician with not only a benign/malignant diagnosis, but also a specific histology of any malignancy found. The test is cost-effective and offers high specificity and sensitivity and may bring diagnosis of lung cancer forward by up to 18 months.

Lung cancer is a difficult cancer to treat successfully as it frequently remains undiagnosed until it has reached the stage where a patient’s survival chances are low. Accurate earlier diagnosis through Fortel Bca could offer an immediate and significant improvement in the prognosis of those suffering from the disease.

The test can also be used by clinicians at regular intervals to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment being given to lung cancer patients.

Medis Diagnostics is looking to raise additional funds of at least £300K to bring Fortel Bca to market. Presenting to an audience of venture capitalists at the BioForum’s investment track, Research and Development Director David Reed said: “The diagnostic, predictive and classification information provided by Fortel Bca is more powerful than ever seen before. The number of new cases of lung cancer per year almost mirrors the number of deaths and there is a definite and proven need for our technology.”

This is the first time the annual White Rose University Consortium Bioscience Forum has held an investment track. The track is being run by Connect Yorkshire, an organisation that specialises in training and mentoring for high- tech companies seeking finance. Connect Yorkshire also organises twice-yearly investment conferences to bring technology companies together with potential investors.

Simon Browning, managing director of Connect Yorkshire says: “Clearly Medis Diagnostics has technology that will significantly change the outlook for those suffering from, or potentially suffering from lung cancer. Early diagnosis and novel monitoring methods will make an enormous difference to thousands of individuals in the future, demonstrating the importance of new technology in improving quality of life for all of us.”

Simon Donoghue, acting chief executive of the White Rose University Consortium says: “The investment track has demonstrated to delegates the wealth of novel bioscience research being undertaken in the region. We hope that this opportunity will result in further funding for the companies allowing their technologies to be developed further.”

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