Commercialisation of a probe for the early diagnosis of cancer

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The SciaScan collaboration1 has won an ICURe award from Innovate UK/Cancer Research UK to commercialise a design for a probe to be used in the early diagnosis of cancer. Initially the probe would be used in combination with the histological analysis of biopsies but it also has potential for in situ diagnosis of cancer and for use in surgery.

The design for such a probe arose out of the results of research funded by an award from Cancer Research UK for the development of an instrument for the "Early detection of oral cancer using infrared (IR) imaging". This led to the development of a patented2 machine-learning algorithm that yielded IR biomarkers that can (a) discriminate between transforming (cancer) and non-transforming (not cancer) oral lesions with sensitivities and specificities of ~90%, which is a significant improvement on the 60%-70% level obtained with current techniques3, and (b) discriminate between cancer associated myofibroblasts and adjacent tissue myofibroblasts in oesophageal tissue from the same patient providing insight into disease staging4.

The group will joined in the ICURe programme by Dr James Ingham, a former PhD graduate and post-doctoral research fellow in the SciaScan group. James will lead the commercialisation of the probe.

1 SciaScan is a collaboration of clinicians, clinical scientists and physicists conducting cancer research. The physics group includes Dr Steve Barrett, Mr Barney Ellis, Mr Dominic von Goetz, Dr Paul Harrison, Ms Safaa Al Jedani, Dr David Martin, Dr Michele Siggel-King, Dr Caroline Smith, Dr Paul Unsworth, Prof. Peter Weighman and Mr Conor Whitley.

2 J. Ingham, S.D. Barrett and P. Weightman, GB Patent Application No: 1806002.0, Filed: 11/4/18 ‘Methods of spectroscopic analysis’ WIPO Patent Application: PCT/GB2019/050998, Filed: 5/4/19

3 Poster at National Cancer Research Institute Conference, Glasgow, November 2019

4 J. Ingham et al., Infrared Physics and Technology, 102 103007 (2019)