Fast and easy tumor detection with liquid biopsy

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VITO and the Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) recently joined forces with 3 Flemish companies, Biocartis, RIC and Pharmafluidics for the project ‘Early Diagnosis by Easy Sampling’. The consortium received a grant of 2,2 million euros from the Flemish Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT) to develop innovative liquid biopsy tests for the diagnosis of cancer. Unique to this project is that the analysis of the plasma samples, or liquid biopsies, is not limited to only freely circulating tumour DNA. Also other components in blood that potentially contain cancer-specific molecular information, can be used for molecular diagnostic testing. The role of VITO is to characterize different plasma fractions on the protein level, using its Proteomics technology and evaluate which fractions have high diagnostic potential. The Proteomics team will especially focus on the extracellular vesicle fractions (exosomes) of the plasma and evaluate their diagnostic potential. Finally, the team will compare the fractionation methods, developed by Pharmafluidics, with the current golden standards for plasma fractionation. With this grant, VITO confirms its position as a research partner in the field of diagnostic biomarker development and extends its portfolio both on the technology and the disease level. By granting this budget, IWT affirms its belief in multidisciplinary partnerships that bring cutting-edge innovation in Flanders.