“Catching cancer early is the closest we have to a silver bullet cure against it” – Jorge Soto, CTO, Miroculus
In a thrilling TED talk, Jorge Soto, a cancer technologist, shares how he and his team at Miroculus are developing a simple, non-invasive, open-source test that can detect cancer before any physical signs appear with only a 1 ml blood sample and their smartphone compatible detection device.
Spotting cancer early is key, but trying to do that has been challenging. Still, more and more evidence suggests that all cancers have a signature, or even a scent, that can be detected early. Current diagnostic methods for cancers are invasive and expensive, so the vast majority of cancer patients never realize they might have cancer until it’s already too late.
Jorge and his team of entrepreneurs, microbiologists, and data scientists have developed an affordable device to check dozens of cancer from a blood drop. The Miroculus technology is based on microRNA, a class of small molecules that can act as a type of biological warning sign, appearing and disappearing based on what is happening in our bodies at that moment. A blood sample is pipetted into a standard 96 well plate that is then loaded into the device for approximately 60 minutes. Each well has its own patented biochemical reagents to detect certain microRNA. If those microRNA strings are present, the well will light up green. A smartphone is then used to analyze the speed of reaction and analyze the data to give an accurate diagnosis. So far, Jorge states that the device has been able to accurately pinpoint microRNA expression patterns for pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and more.
Though still in the early stages, this device holds a huge potential for the field of oncology.