Breakthrough in Early Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer with a Simple Blood Test
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Last year, 10 million deaths were recorded due to cancer. The World Health Organisation says cancer mortality can be reduced if cases are detected and treated early. It is continuously growing across the globe. It exerts tremendous physical, emotional and financial strain on individuals, families, communities and the health system.
A Mumbai based startup Epigeneres Biotechnology Pvt. Ltd. confirmed a breakthrough in early-stage cancer detection along with Singapore based Tzar Labs Pvt. Ltd. They achieved it with a discovery embedded in a contentious segment of cellular biology. If the additional trials confirm the same, this discovery will hit the market with a bang in the branch of therapeutic medicine worth tens of billions of dollars a year. A Mumbai based nanotech scientist Vinay Kumar Tripathi and his family are the majority shareholders.
Epigeneres Biotechnology and Tzar Labs Pvt. have developed the test, called HrC. It enables 100% accuracy on the early detection of cancer and the stage of the disease is from a simple blood test, as per the result of 1000 peoples’ blood tests. It was published in a quarterly journal published by Berlin-based Springer Science + Business Media on 6 May 2021.
“We can detect all types of cancer in the early stage, even before the formation of a tumour, from a simple blood test. It’s also the first prognostic test for cancer in the world”, Ashish Tripathi, Chief executive officer (CEO) Tzar Labs said in a telephone interview. “We not only detect that you don’t have cancer but we can also safely tell the risk of cancer for the coming year if the HrC marker stays in the safe zone. We contemplate a world where only one HrC test would be required once a year and we can detect and diagnose cancer either at stage 1 or prior.”
The test also identifies 25 different kinds of cancer. The best news is that it detects cancer before the onset of the tumour. With the advancement in cancer treatment, the number of deaths due to the illness in the early stages have declined. The discovery would be a boon to millions of people who suffer or die from this illness.
While researching, they found a larger number of VSELs in the peripheral blood of cancer patients than the people without the illness. Oct4a, a transcription factor within the cell, varied in expression with different stages of cancer. A transcription factor is a protein that regulates the rate of transcription of genetic information from DNA to messenger to RNA.
A scale was developed based on the observation of 104 cancer patients. After this, they tested the scale in a registered double-blinded clinical trial with thousands of people (half of them were cancer patients). The reports perfectly detected the cancer patients and the stage of cancer having 99% accuracy. The pre-cancer cases or the higher risk of cancer can also be discovered with the help of this scale.
The blood test to detect cancer is named after the former senior Mumbai police officer Himanshu Roy i.e., he died by suicide in 2018 while fighting cancer. Himanshu Roy was the son-in-law of Vinay Kumar Tripathi, father of Amish Tripathi (the best selling author and well known for the series 'Shiva Trilogy'). Ashish and Anish Kumar, former investment banker and consultant, are also his son and part of the management of the two companies.
The Tripathi family has also filed for patents in the US, Japan, Europe, Singapore, South Korea, China and India. They are planning to introduce the test kit to the Indian market by September to October of the current year, Ashish Tripathi said. Some securing regulatory approvals are still to be done. It is working on creating a network of labs. Lower Parel, Mumbai will be such a first lab. Probably, it can also raise $200 million to make large clinical trials, in western markets. Epigeneres biotechnology has a license for testing in India. It ensures the price will be as low as possible.
As per the American Cancer Society; cancer is the reason for 1 in every 6 deaths worldwide. The national institute of cancer, Noida, also states that there are 2.25 million cancer patients in India and 1.1 million new patients make an addition every year to the data. In one year, approximately 8 hundred thousand people die of the disease in India. The result of the larger trials will fascinate the pharmaceuticals, medical communities and investors in a large amount.
Deepa Bhartiya, Head of the stem cell biology department, National Institute of Productive Health, proudly said “The entire world had been looking for a marker for cancer cells. The Breakthrough in Early Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer that Dr Tripathi’s team has pulled off, will hold up India’s head high in the whole world".