Breast cancer afflicts 1 out of every 8 women in the US, killing thousands every year. According to the American Cancer Society, the key to survival is early detection. Women are advised to perform monthly self-exams and mammograms are recommended for women over a certain age or those with significant risk factors.
Mammograms, however, are not infallible. Some 80% of biopsies performed after abnormal results show no sign of cancer, while even more frighteningly, between 10 percent and 30 percent of negative results turn out to be false.
Now, one diagnostics company has developed a non-invasive test which will reduce the need for biopsies and catch cancers missed by false negatives. Eventus Diagnostics is based in the US, but its R&D lab in Israel is hard at work studying its Octava Pink and Blue blood tests for breast cancer diagnosis.
The lab, located outside Jerusalem in Moshav Ora, developed what it describes as an accurate, cost-effective, immune system-based means of detecting the presence of cancer in the breast tissue. By analyzing the body’s immune response, the test can determine the presence of cancer in the system.
“The company’s core technology has the unique ability to accurately determine whether cancer is present by identifying and measuring certain combinations of these cancer-specific autoantibodies. The ability to assess these combinations to distinguish between healthy individuals and those with cancer is the foundation of the Eventus technology,” reads a statement on the company’s website.
“Researchers have long realized that profiling the antibody repertoire of the immune system could potentially detect cancer in its early stages, even before the cancer is clinically evident,” the statement said.
“These findings led EventusDx scientists to develop methods to accurately identify these breast cancer-specific autoantibodies that could be used for early detection of the disease.”
Blood samples from over 800 women were tested in the US, Israel and Italy, and the Octava Blue test accurately detected cancer in 500 of them. The test could reduce the need for costly and invasive biopsies by up to 50 percent.
The Pink test, meanwhile, is meant to verify negative results, catching roughly half of all misdiagnoses. This arms women with information needed to seek early treatment. False negatives are especially prominent among women with dense breast tissue.
While the Octava Blue is still under development, the Pink test recently received the CE mark for use in the European Union. Pilots for the blood test are being conducted at cancer centers in Israel and Italy.
“Receiving CE marking for Octava Pink is an important milestone for our company,” said Alon Hayka, president of Eventus Diagnostics in Israel. “Octava Pink is designed to reassure women with true negative mammograms and to enable earlier diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in women receiving false negative results.”
Hayka added, “We are continuing to refine the proprietary Octava technology to increase its specificity and sensitivity. We also are applying our unique technology to develop the Octava Blue™ test that can non-invasively detect false positive mammography results and reduce the number of unneeded biopsies by at least 50 percent, saving many women the anxiety and discomfort of the biopsy procedure while reducing costs to the health system as a whole.”