19 Canadian Start-ups That Are Out to Change the World

Danielle Groen - 01 May 2019

Doctors are saving lives…

…with better tests

Prostate cancer affects one in seven Canadian men, but the path to diagnosis is tricky, painful and unreliable. The current blood test has an 80 percent false positive rate, which means unnecessary biopsies that can lead to life-threatening infections. Good news out of Edmonton, then: The CEO of Nanostics, Dr. John Lewis, and his team have developed a far less invasive test, one that only requires a few drops of blood.

"Extracellular vesicles, or EVs, are tiny particles that shed from human cells," he says. "Our tech-nology provides a new way to read and interpret the messages found in our bloodstream, measur-ing EVs from prostate cancer cells to more accur-ately identify people with aggressive stages of the disease." That technology has been tested against more than 200,000 samples collected by Lewis' team from over 2,000 men, and has proved to be 40 percent more accurate than the current blood screening. And Nanostics isn't stopping there. "Our EV technology is applicable to other cancers and many other diseases," Lewis says. Tests for ovarian cancer, transplant rejection and chronic lymphocytic leukemia are all on the horizon.

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