Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Awards 2019

12 GHP / 2019 Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Awards , ANCON Medical: Most Innovative Disease Screening Technology Developers 2019 & Best Cancer Detection Technology: Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging ANCONMedical’s long-termmission is to deliver an innovative, non-invasive technology that can detect a wide range of diseases in their earliest stages. Breath analysis is the “Holy Grail” of medical diagnosis technology, providing a simple, inexpensive way to identify minute traces of molecular biomarkers within a point of care situation, as the firm explores in this unique article. Why diagnose early? The first thing to consider is perhaps why early diagnosis is so important? For many this question may seem blindingly obvious, there are myriad stories and accounts of patients who have been told it’s ‘too late’ by doctors upon receiving their diagnosis. What is not immediately obvious is the non-discreet stages of “too late” that exist when dealing with serious, life-changing illnesses. In between catching a disease at the earliest possible stage and it eventually reaching incurable status, each step affects the treatment options available and the efficacy of these treatments. The earlier a disease such as lung cancer or bowel cancer is diagnosed, the more treatment options are available to doctors, surgeons and healthcare professionals. For advanced stage cancers, surgery is often not a viable treatment option, especially if the disease has spread to other parts of the body. For instance, lung cancer – which is our main focus at this moment – has a net survival rate of just 15.3% according to statistics released recently by the Office of National Statistics. However, when diagnosed at Stage 1 this figure almost quadruples to 56%. This could mean that of the 47,000 or so cases each year almost 20,000 (26,000 vs 7,000) more people could potentially survive the disease if all cases were caught at Stage 1. This may seem far-fetched, but this is the potential that diagnosis technology has to change the face of the medical industry. Why isn’t this already happening? Current methods rely heavily on patients’ judgement, accuracy of symptom description and the decisions that GPs and consultants make. And once through this first stage, on expensive and relatively inaccurate technologies such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. Every day, many thousands of people ignore symptoms for a wide variety of reasons, from busy work and family lives, to a fear of what the diagnosis might be. Research conducted by ANCON in the UK found that over half of respondents have not visited a doctor in over five years, while over 5 million people have previously ignored serious symptoms due to a lack of time to visit a doctor. This is not a problem that is limited to the UK either, across the world putting off the visit to the doctor’s surgery undoubtedly costs thousands of lives. Once an individual has seen a doctor and a serious disease is suspected it comes to the actual diagnosis which can often be expensive, time consuming and, worst of all, inaccurate. Coming back to lung cancer once again as a prime example; it is a notoriously difficult disease to diagnose accurately. When using a CT scan the rate of false positive diagnosis is 36%. Over a third of diagnoses turn out to not to be cancer at all. While when using X-rays early detection is not always possible due to a lack of sensitivity. While MRIs are far more sensitive, this comes with a huge price tag, both in terms of equipment and staffing costs. For these reasons, effective screening, faster diagnosis and non-invasive options are of paramount importance. How can this be achieved? An effective screening strategy could help alleviate some of the anxiety around diagnosis and fast results could free up resources for doctors and allow more people to fit a consultation into busy work schedules. ANCON Medical’s revolutionary Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging (NBT) technology potentially offers just that. The NBT device analyses a patient’s breath to provide a fast, point of care and non-invasive diagnosis methods for the world’s most serious diseases.