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May 10, 2021

Start-up Tzar Labs develops blood test for cancer detection

Singaporean molecular diagnostic company Tzar Labs, in collaboration with India-based Epigeneres Biotechnology, has developed a new blood-based test that can be used for early cancer prognosis and diagnosis.

Known as HrC, the Tzar Labs non-invasive diagnostic tool can identify and categorise solid tumours, haematological malignancies and sarcomas according to their stage.

The test can aid in detecting if cancer is absent, imminent or present. This allows early detection and treatment of cancer, thereby possibly saving lives, Tzar Labs noted.

According to the team led by Indian researchers, the peripheral blood of cancer patients had many very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs) versus those without cancer.

In addition, the expression of a transcription factor within the cell, called Oct4a, fluctuated along with the corresponding cancer stage.

Tzar Labs added that its technology can identify organ-level RNA mutations from the blood. The company conducted research on marker genes and identified the major molecular indicator of cancerous diseases.

Tzar Labs founder and CEO Ashish Tripathi said: “We are delighted to announce that our team of Indian scientists have made this significant breakthrough that will change the way we address, understand, detect and treat all kinds of cancers.

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“We can detect cancer earlier than known technologies when the disease is infinitely more treatable. What we will provide is better information to oncologists, for making treatment-related decisions, and thus saving lives.”

The trial was made up of 1,000 participants, including 500 people without cancer and 500 with cancer.

Genomics consultant and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust genetics laboratory former director Dr Stephen Abbs said: “This marker has the ability to become a powerful screening and diagnostic test for cancer, particularly if it can work on all cancer types.

“There is still significant work needed before it can translate into an accepted diagnostic test and a larger study needs to be completed at the earliest opportunity to back up the data in this initial publication.”

Tzar Labs has filed for patents in countries including the US, Europe, India, Japan, China and Singapore.

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