Singapore based, Tzar Labs, a molecular diagnostic company, along with Mumbai-based Epigeneres Biotechnology, claimed an unprecedented breakthrough in early-detection and prognosis/diagnosis of cancer."This is possible with a novel blood test - a world-first - that can help determine whether cancer is absent, imminent, or present, and also detect different stages of the disease," a company statement said.This will pave the way for widespread early detection and treatment of cancer, thereby potentially saving millions of lives. This innovation will redefine cancer diagnostics through precise and accurate detection before any symptoms or tumours develop, it said.The company has done a clinical study of 1000 subjects, and published its peer-reviewed paper in SCRR (Stem Cell Reviews and Reports).The core team led by Indian scientists have found two major revelations – first, the peripheral blood of patients with cancer revealed a large number of VSELs (Very Small Embryonic-Like Stem Cells) compared to those without the disease.The second was the expression of a transcription factor within the cell, known as Oct4a, varying according to the respective stage of cancer.
Tzar Labs has pioneered a proprietary technology which can detect organ-level RNA mutations directly from the blood. They have been carrying out extensive research on marker genes and found the key molecular indicator of cancerous conditions. The company has filed patents in the US, Europe, Japan, China, and Singapore amongst others, for this innovation in diagnostic technology, the statement said.Tzar Labs has developed the HrC test to detect and have an effective prognosis of cancer even before tumour formation, through a simple blood test.The initial clinical study published in Science Journal SCRR, of 1000 subjects including 500 non-cancer and 500 cancer patients, shows that:The discovery enables the detection of cancer and stage of the disease from a simple blood test with 99 per cent plus specificity.HrC scale can differentiate between cancer absent, imminent, and present; and is also the first prognostic test for cancer.It can also detect the type of cancer, the primary organ, and help identify and monitor treatment protocols.It is markedly superior to the liquid biopsy approach of detecting circulating tumour cells (CTC/ ctDNA / cfRNA). It is therefore the most effective screening test for cancer, from a single gene-based biomarker, the company said.HrC test is a novel, non-invasive, blood test that can detect all types of cancers, including solid tumours, haematological malignancies, and sarcomas.
This study was published in the April issue of SCRR (Stem Cell Reviews and Reports, a quarterly medical journal.Ashish Tripathi, Founder & CEO of Tzar Labs, said, "We are delighted to announce that our team of Indian Scientists have made this significant breakthrough that will change the way we address, understand, detect and treat all kinds of cancers.We can detect cancer earlier than known technologies when the disease is infinitely more treatable. What we will provide is better information to Oncologists, for making treatment-related decisions, and thus saving lives."Deepa Bhartiya, Scientist-G & Head of Stem Cell Biology, ICMR - NIRRH, has commented: "I am glad to see breakthrough research like this coming out of India. This HrC technology is going to revolutionise the way that cancer is treated. This marker is detecting ALL cancers earlier than any technology with high specificity when the tumour has not even formed. What's more is that they have made this breakthrough using VSELs where I have done considerable work over the last 2 decades."Stephen Abbs, a Genomics Consultant and former Director of Genetics Laboratory at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust commented, "This marker has the ability to become a powerful screening and diagnostic test for cancer, particularly if it can work on all cancer types. There is still significant work needed before it can translate into an accepted diagnostic test and a larger study needs to be completed at the earliest opportunity to back up the data in this initial publication.However, if proven to be as reliable at detecting cancer as described in this study, this non-invasive test has the ability to dramatically alter how the medical community approaches cancer diagnosis."Tzar Labs has co-developed this technology with Indian molecular medicine start-up Epigeneres Biotech.