Several Technion professors and graduates are responsible for oncological developments that are on course to transform the way cancer is caught, diagnosed and treated

A startup that has developed a blood test to predict how well cancer patients will react to treatment is planning to collaborate with the NHS in setting up clinical trials, while a technology to help pathologists detect cancer has been given an FDA ‘breakthrough’ nod.

OncoHost – the company behind the blood test that Prof. Yuval Shaked of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology has created – is the result of a decade’s research. The trials will focus on patients diagnosed with advanced stages of melanoma or non-small cell lung cancer and will join the company’s existing trials using diagnostic platform PROphet, which uses AI to predict patient response to immunotherapy. The result is a personalised treatment plan that will help provide clinicians with potential combination strategies to overcome treatment resistance.The Israeli startup also plans to open additional clinical trial sites around the world to expand its research to other cancers.

Changing the way cancer is detected is also being revolutionised, thanks to Ibex Medical Analytics – the maker of an AI-based cancer diagnostic software. Its Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Daphna Laifenfeld, spent time researching personalised medicine during her tenure at the Technion. 

The startup has received a breakthrough device designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will help expedite the clinical review and regulatory approval of its technology. In receiving this, its potential to help pathologists both detect and diagnose cancer has been formally acknowledged.

The software is already used in labs worldwide as part of everyday clinical practice, as well as continually demonstrating its positive outcomes in clinical studies. 

Meanwhile, Prof. Marcelle Machluf – yet another Technion professor – has made it her life’s work to create a medicine delivery system that can defeat cancer. The co-founder and inventor of NanoGhost – a technology that targets cancer cells with modified adult stem cells loaded with medicine – is also the faculty dean of Biotechnology & Food Engineering at the Technion, and it was here that she started the research that led to NanoGhost in 2010.

NanoGhost – which has already raised $5 million – is showing promising progress, with clinical trials aimed by 2023.