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Getting Personal: Better Diagnosis, Better Treatment

Posted on September 8th, 2017 by in Pharma R&D


Figures released by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 2017 indicate that the burden of cancer is on the rise, with the number of diagnoses rising by 50% over the next 13 years. Even more troubling is the predicted mortality rate for cancer, which is expected to increase by an incredible 60% between now and 2030. With all the effort being put into finding treatments, why is the death toll still on the rise?

The focus of the pharmaceutical industry is on developing new drugs, but biomedical research should also consider the methods used to diagnose the disease. Histology and immunohistochemistry are currently the diagnostics of choice when it comes to cancer, but according to Dr. Pavol Cekan, co-founder, and CEO of the RNA-based diagnostics development startup MultiplexDX, these two techniques are old-fashioned and can lead to misdiagnoses.

In a recent interview with Elsevier, Dr. Cekan explained his views on cancer diagnostics and explained why he and fellow molecular biologist Dr. Vladimir Wolf founded MultiplexDX. The startup’s mission is to create reliable, 100% accurate, quantitative and affordable diagnostics for cancer using RNA-based technology.

“We believe there is so much that can be improved in diagnostics to unlock the full potential of personalized medicine,” says Dr. Cekan. “Every patient deserves a personalized diagnosis that can actually indicate the therapy that they really need. Our techniques use RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization and RNA sequencing, which have enormous potential for accurate diagnosis.”

The techniques also have utility for pharmaceutical companies as it could improve response monitoring in clinical trials. “Visualizing what occurs at the RNA level is a dynamic technique that can reveal what cells are doing on their own or in response to a drug. With the right investment, we could push the envelope to be able to accurately visualize the effect of a drug in vivo.”

Read the Complete Interview to learn more about Dr. Cekan’s work at MultiplexDX and how it will help lead to more personalized and more effective cancer treatments.

All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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