TechCrunch Disrupt: cancer treatments being tested out of the patient body

  • 25 Sep
  • 2 min

Startup Ourotech wants to fight cancer by making sure patients are getting the right cancer treatments, the first time they are diagnosed.

Cancer is one of the main cause of mortality worldwide. Although there are many treatments available, it is sometimes hard for doctors to know which one is the best for each patient. For now, early detection is what gives them the best chance to survive. This is why many startups are inventing non-invasive methods to diagnose cancers. Ascendant Dx, for example, detects breast cancer through the collection of tears while BiliScreen detects pancreatic cancer via a selfie. But once the diagnosis is made, doctors have to take actions and propose a treatment. 

Canadian startup Ourotech can help with that. Its CEO and cofounder Duleek Ranatunga revealed on TechCrunch Disrupt 2017 stage, that both his aunt and grandmother had to fight cancer. He said that majority of cancer patients get the wrong type of treatment the first time they are diagnosed. In order not to lose any more time or chance of survival, Ourotech wants to make sure that the first treatment will be the right one. They have managed to find a way to test it outside of the patient’s body. To do so, they need a sample of the tumor and one of the liver of the patient. Thanks to a specific hydrogel, researchers can measure drug resistance and side-effects pretty quickly. The drugs can indeed be injected on the samples on a more regular basis, every two hours instead of every two days usually, so that no time will be wasted before finding the best cancer treatment for a patient.

Ourotech is now focusing on colorectal, breast and brain cancers. The canadian startup will still need to complete clinical trials and get FDA approvals to launch to the market in about four years. But if it works, this can revolutionize cancer treatments and save many lives.

By Sophia Qadiri