soventec is partner in EMECK - Development of a multi-entity chip with mobile measurement system for minimally invasive early cancer detection

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Press release, May 31th 2021

soventec GmbH, the University of Lübeck, CAMPTON Diagnostics GmbH an are starting a joint research project to develop a novel, mobile measurement system for early cancer detection specifically for pancreatic, colon and lung cancer. This measurement system will for the first time be able to evaluate multiple biomarkers (multiplex approach) in combination with an AI-based evaluation strategy to perform a differentiated and unambiguous early cancer detection with high sensitivity and specificity.

The project combines the expertise of the University of Lübeck in the areas of biobanking and sensitive biomarker detection, CAMPTON Diagnostics in the area of biochip technology, and soventec in the development of the software and AI-based evaluation modules.

"Pancreatic, colorectal and lung cancers are among the most common cancers worldwide and the majority have tumor involvement in lymph nodes and/or distant organs at the time of diagnosis. A major challenge for today's healthcare systems worldwide is the difficulty in detecting cancer patients at an early stage without metastasis with greater chances of cure," explains Prof. Dr. Timo Gemoll, Acting Section Head of the Section for Translational Surgical Oncology & Biomaterial Banks (STCOB) of the Department of Surgery at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Lübeck Campus and the University of Lübeck. Furthermore, it would be desirable to predict a therapy response for affected patients, e.g. to make statements about the success of chemotherapy or radiation.

Mobile measuring device for later on-site use
The detection of the markers will be developed on CAMPTON's R&D approved "Reader 100". In the second project phase, a project-specific new reader with integrated reagents in the cartridge will be developed. The goal is to optimize the developed marker panels for early cancer detection into a rapid test and later combine them into a new type of reader as a fast, easy-to-use on-site test that could later even be used in the home care sector for therapy monitoring.

Innovation: Combination of biomarkers on the biochip
Another innovation of the system is the unique combination of proteins to be tested on the biochip. "During the first phase of the project, the biochip setup will focus on pancreatic, colorectal and lung cancer. For this purpose, used (i) markers in the clinic for pancreatic, colorectal and lung cancer will be complemented with (ii) promising markers from current clinical studies and (iii) markers from comparative molecular biology studies," explains Prof. Dr. Gemoll.

Automated early cancer detection with the use of AI

"Against this background and a predicted doubling of cancer cases by 2040, the present project relates to the development of a novel biochip array, which for the first time worldwide combines an automated detection method in an integrated cartridge system, will allow mobile use based on our Reader 100, and can be flexibly adapted to future requirements by using software-based and, thanks to AI, adaptive evaluation methods," Lars Blohm, CEO and CTO of CAMPTON Diagnostics, describes the joint project.

"What is new is that we will evaluate the elimination of systematic measurement errors in the "Reader 100" system via an AI-based evaluation approach of the raw data," says Kai Diercks, Managing Director of soventec, describing his company's contribution to the project. Anomalies in the measurement process can be detected for existing and future assays. "The AI-based evaluation of the measurement results can then be used together with clinical parameters to individualize diagnostics and thus optimize the Reader 100," Diercks adds.

The soventec part of the funding is also supported proportionally from ERDF funds with 193,292.-Euro.

The project partners

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