The Spanish company AWSensors has developed technology for a high-sensitivity molecular detection system for use in cancer screening. It is based on a technique known as liquid biopsy: the analysis of small fluid samples, like blood or saliva, making it completely non-invasive. It is also fast, giving results within the hour. When combined with genomic analysis, it will be possible to obtain reliable early diagnoses and devise precision medicine approaches to cancer treatment.
The new detection system will incorporate quartz microsensor technology patented by the Universitat Politècnica de València (Polytechnic Univeristy of Valencia, UPV) that allows real-time analysis, combined with technology that can reliably detect DNA mutations, developed by Destina Genomics.
The current go-to method for reliable cancer diagnosis is tumour tissue biopsy, but this method is invasive, painful and expensive. It also only provides information of a single point in the evolution of the disease. The new system also has the advantage of being up to three times cheaper than other real-time methods, such as quantitative PCR, and can be carried out by non-specialists. LiqBiopSens will therefore enable simple, inexpensive, non-invasive screening for early detection and periodic monitoring of tumours.
Technology developed at AWSensors and Destina Genomics will be used to develop this new system. By detecting both the DNA released by the tumour into the body and any cancer-associated mutations it undergoes, it will reliably detect the presence and evolution of this cancer, doing away with false positives.
In the final phase of the project, a LiqBiopSens prototype diagnosis will be tested on real patients in hospitals in southern Spain, supervised by the Andalusian Health Service.