System biomarker detects cancer in time

Elypta: System biomarker for detection of renal cancer

System biomarker detects cancer in time

“There is a considerable need for diagnostic methods that can enable us to make a simpler, more exact and more reliable diagnosis of renal cancer”, says Karl Bergman, biotechnician and CEO of Elypta.

The main methods currently used are biopsy and computer tomography. They are relatively expensive and complicated for both patients and doctors, and are used only when there is a strong suspicion of cancer.

“It’s typical for cancer as a disease that it develops slowly and without symptoms. When it’s discovered, it’s unfortunately often well advanced and difficult to treat.”

AI increases accuracy

Elypta’s solution entails measuring 20 different biomarkers – a so-called system biomarker – which are made up of metabolites in the blood and urine. The measurement data reflects an important and complex process in cancer and is analysed using machine learning; artificial intelligence analysis programs that learn more and more and increase accuracy the more they are used.

“The project’s most eye-catching clinical study shows at least 93 per cent accuracy in terms of distinguishing between healthy volunteers and renal cancer patients. If measurements are taken for both blood and urine, the accuracy is 100 per cent”, says Karl Bergman.

Looking for more cancer profiles

Further clinical studies are now being conducted at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

“We are developing our measurement method with an aim to gain regulatory approval and create as much clinical benefit as possible. At the same time, we are trying to identify and validate more cancer profiles using system biomarkers and we have high hopes for success.”

“Swelife’s funding has been important for carrying out our clinical studies and also for assessing health-economic, regulatory and intellectual property aspects. Elypta is working in parallel on seeking follow-up investments. A commercial launch of the test lies several years in the future – and if it becomes a reality, the market is very large.

“It’s estimated that the market for ‘liquid biopsy’ will be around USD 2 billion in 2020, with a growth rate of 30 per cent. However, the potential is much greater than that, depending on how the method is utilised.

Updated: 9 August 2017

Text: Jörgen Olsson