Sharp detailed image provides opportunity for personalised treatment

AMLC – A novel method for advanced in vitro diagnostics of cancer

Sharp detailed image provides opportunity for personalised treatment

“With our patented analysis method, AMLC, a large number of cell markers can be visualised simultaneously within the same tissue section. Qualitatively, it means that we can obtain much more detailed information from a single tissue sample. Quantitatively, it allows us to analyse complex cell patterns instead of just looking at single cells”, explains Monika Malm-Erjefält.

She is the project coordinator and operational manager at Medetect, which works with advanced histological contract research.

When it comes to cancer, the higher the quality of the tissue analysis, the easier it becomes to choose the right treatment. Together with Mårten Färnö, professor at the Division of Oncology and Pathology at the Lund University Cancer Centre, among others, she has studied biobank material from previous studies from the South Sweden Breast Cancer Group.

Support for optimal treatment

“Today, within the field of breast cancer, there’s not enough information to tailor the treatment to each individual patient. Who will respond to a certain treatment and who won’t? Who will initially respond but later become resistant?”

These are some of the questions Monika Malm-Erjefält and her colleagues hope to answer by producing more detailed and specific information about the cellular composition of tumours. For example, for 60 per cent of breast cancer patients, it would suffice to surgically remove the tumour. Meanwhile, today, 80–90 per cent also receive harsh additional treatment, for example in the form of chemotherapy or hormonal treatment.

“We believe our method can provide doctors with a more solid basis for making optimal treatment decisions. Choosing the right treatment for each individual patient is a major future challenge as several new and expensive drugs are introduced in healthcare.”

Wants to establish collaborations

“Currently, AMLC technology is used for inflammatory diseases. We now want to develop partnerships with pharmaceutical companies also in the field of cancer as our method can provide new important information in studies of new treatments”, says Monika.

She believes that the AMLC method is already ripe for study, in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, as a potential companion diagnostic, i.e. a method of predicting a patient’s response to a specific treatment.

“However, realistically, we won’t have a complete certification system for in vitro diagnostics in healthcare for another 5–6 years.”

Found networks

The support from Swelife has been very important, says Monika Malm-Erjefält:

“Partly the funding, of course, but also the coaching and support in business development. It’s been very useful and encouraging to us, and Swelife has helped us become part of networks which we probably wouldn’t have found otherwise.”

Updated: 12 October 2017

Text: Jörgen Olsson