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AI-powered Early Cancer Detection

With more than 20 million new cases in 2022 and 9.8 million deaths, cancer remains one of the greatest medical challenges of our time, affecting countries equally on a global scale regardless of their human development index and national income. Despite ever-improving treatment methods and scientific breakthroughs, early cancer detection remains the most crucial centerpiece to decreasing lethality, reducing medical expenses, and improving treatment success. The axiom “early detection saves lives” holds particularly true in oncology, where survival rates drastically increase with timely diagnosis and medical intervention. More than 50% of cancers diagnosed are already at an advanced stage, meaning that the tumor has started spreading to other organs and structures, making it increasingly difficult to target all tumor cells effectively. This statistic underlines that current screening methods are not accurate enough. Traditional screening methods like X-rays and MRI scans have inherent risks and limitations. While X-rays carry a carcinogenic risk, MRI scans are limited by their time-consuming nature and inability to detect smaller tumors. Furthermore, most specific cancer screening methods (e.g., mammography, low-dose CT scans, Pap smear, and colonoscopy) are not considered to be minimally invasive, low-cost, and highly sensitive. Consequently, to effectively tackle the global health crisis induced by cancer, we need an accurate and low-effort screening method that can be applied to check for multiple cancer types at the same time.

The company has developed such an innovative screening tool, with which they will soon innovate the areas of cancer screening and diagnosis. The company has developed an ML-based algorithm to detect the most prevalent and lethal cancer types from blood sample data. Their research has demonstrated that solid tumors can be detected up to four years before a conventional diagnosis is possible by screening blood for epigenetic markers and cell-free tumor DNA. Their solution marks a revolutionary screening milestone by offering a non-invasive and time-efficient screening method to detect multiple cancer types from only one blood sample.

Their ML algorithm is currently able to detect the six most lethal cancers (lung, colorectal, liver, breast, stomach, pancreatic), which accounted for more than 50% of deaths in 2022 and a few of the other most prevalent cancer types. Their vision is to extend the algorithm’s detection capabilities within the near future to cover cancer types, which are accountable for more than 70% of cancer deaths globally and 60% of cancer diagnoses.

The innovators believe that blood-based methods for early cancer detection represent a frontier in oncology with the potential to revolutionize cancer care. Their vision is that people can easily tick off their cancer checkup when getting their bloodwork done, establishing it as a convenient routine. Furthermore, its blood-based screening solution will make comprehensive cancer checkups more affordable, thereby removing geographical barriers as blood tests are more easily accessible than any other cancer screening method, providing the client with a globally scalable screening solution.