Miroculus Starts Detection on Stomach CancerWed, 09/07/2016 - 15:42
Q: How have the public and professionals received Miroculus in Mexico?
A: The response has been positive. We are looking at better and easier ways to diagnose diseases and allow patients access to a state-of-the-art diagnostic tool that is easy to use, and affordable. We are focusing on demonstrating our technological, biological and clinical results.
We presented our product and results at the Liquid Biopsy Summit in San Francisco. We completed a study with 650 people for stomach cancer detection. This will be the first application. We have associated symptoms in patients across five hospitals in three different countries with stomach cancer, gastritis, atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia. We still need to validate these results but we are collecting new samples in other countries like Guatemala, and Chile among others for data corroboration. We hope to market our product by 2018.
We have approached several institutions such as private hospitals in Mexico City and public institutions such as the INCAN and IMSS. Both are keen on potentially conducting a clinical study. Mexico is definitely one of our priority countries. We really want to test Miroculus in Mexico, and I believe we will do so by the end of 2016.
Q: What steps do you think we can take to create a culture of prevention and early detection in Mexico and how can your device help?
A: The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that to tackle cancer we need to develop a better understanding of preventive measures. This benefits patients, the economy, health institutions, and the government. Public health systems like those in Mexico need to start addressing the most prevalent and the deadliest diseases in the country and encourage early detection.
Certain cancers are associated with lower recovery rates, such as stomach cancer, the second deadliest cancer in Mexico, and it is difficult to detect at an early stage. It requires an endoscopy and it is impossible to provide all the population with one. It is possible to take a small blood sample from people, which can detect many illnesses. There are already very good prevention campaigns for breast, cervical and prostate cancers. We need to add lung and stomach cancers to that list as they are the deadliest in Mexico.
Q: The Mexican public sometimes mistrusts vaccinations, such as that against cervical cancer. How can Miroculus and early detection help change this view?
A: It is very important to demonstrate the device works, and to show sensitivity levels and its predictive value. We mostly plan to work with institutions, and MDs to build this. The machine is not something we can build independently since they are the experts who can advise us on the best course of action. We joined many medical institutions and research labs such as the Catholic University Hospital of Chile, and UCSF or Johns Hopkins University in the US. We aim to build together, to understand the medical needs and the information doctors need. We aim to have Miroculus ready as soon as possible so we can detect, and diagnose earlier and more efficiently.
Q: Your device detects a certain number of cancers. How long will it be before it can detect all known cancers?
A: Our device currently focuses on detecting microRNAs while other labs, and researchers are validating the presence of microRNAs and specific diseases. Our company is focusing on discovering the validity and clinical utility of stomach cancer detection and microRNAs first. The validation process is not particularly simple. It is rigorous. Miroculus technology does not stand alone. Other specialists are developing technologies to detect several types of cancer. I am sure that within the next 10 years we will see technology that detects several types of cancer with one single blood sample.
The design of our technology will be open to all. We have several prototypes. The instrument we are building to better understand the needs of hospitals and doctors will be very different. It should be available by late 2017 or early 2018.