Tear-Based Breast Cancer Diagnosis
To date, the biggest challenge to increasing the survival rate from breast cancer is accurate early detection. When malignant breast tumors are detected at a size of 2 cm or less, survivability can be as high as 90%. Once a malignant tumor has increased in size and metastasizes to surrounding nodes and skin tissue survivability drops to 50%, if major internal organs are involved, survivability can be less than 20%.
The current gold standard in breast cancer screening is mammography, which has the following disadvantages:
- Ineffective at detecting tumors smaller than 2 cm
- Ineffective in women with dense breast tissue
- Painful: pressure equivalent to 40 lb car battery
- High false positive rate and low sensitivity
- Inaccessible to patients in low income and rural areas
Our tear-based test provides the following advantages:
- Not limited by tumor size for identification
- Not limited by tissue type
- Pain free
- Highly sensitive
- Lower cost
- Sample can be taken in an office setting
Ascendant Diagnostics' first product to be brought to market is a tear-based diagnostic screening method for early detection of breast cancer, which can accurately diagnose malignant breast masses from the proteomic profiles present in tear samples. The platform for our test is MALDI mass spectrometry, which is common instrumentation for diagnostic testing companies such as Quest, LabCorp, and Peace Health labs. Implementation of our test in the market place will lead to greater rates of survivability by increased early detection of breast cancer and increased participation by demographics that choose not to utilize currently available yearly screening methods.
How Does the Test Work?
Tears provide insight into molecular events occurring within the body. Collection of tears is easy, non-invasive, and has relatively low risk to the patient. If tears are not being produced, which is rare, a saline wash of the eye can be employed. The pathway from tears to results is simple. Tears are collected from a patient, next tear samples are loaded into the mass spectrometer and the resulting proteomic profile data confirms if a lump is malignant or benign.