An international research team at Swansea University Medical School and the university’s Centre for NanoHealth in the United Kingdom has received an international award for developing a graphene biosensor-based diagnostic test for ovarian cancer that offers quicker and more accurate results in a less expensive and portable way.
The team received the i3S-Hovione Capital Health Innovation Prize, an international award aimed at distinguishing innovative ideas in the health sector, for developing a device — called ‘MagCyte’ — that can diagnose ovarian cancer in a couple of minutes using only a single drop of blood.
The portable technology is different from the tests currently used in hospitals and allows for increased flexibility when monitoring patients, even if they have already been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
According to the team that created the device, its innovative technology allows for the diagnosis of ovarian cancer up to four years before it can be diagnosed through the technology currently available.
Besides simplifying and bringing down the costs of ovarian cancer testing, the device does not require a technically advanced laboratory or a specialized clinician to operate it, meaning it can be operated in smaller health centers and doesn’t require centralized services. The device can also be used with other biomarkers to detect other diseases.
The team included Sofia Teixeira, Lewis Francis, Deya Gonzalez, Lavinia Margarit from Swansea University; Ines Pinto, from the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Portugal; and the team leader Steven Conlan, also from Swansea.
As part of the inaugural i3S Hovine Capital Health Innovation prize, the team received €35,000 in financing and services, including a market study, creation of a business plan, technology validation by industrial experts, and support in setting up a company based on their winning device.
“The Hovione prize will allow the team to initiate the process of moving our device from the lab to the patient. Whilst there is much work to be done, this is an important step towards the better and earlier diagnosis of patients with ovarian cancer. Cooperation between the two European centers has been key in realizing this achievement,” Conlan said in a Swansea University news story.
The prize is supported by an international cooperation including the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT-Health), Bluecinical (PT), Patentree (PT), SRS Advogados (PT), Impact Science (UK), and ANI / MCTES (PT) through its ‘Born from Knowledge’ (BfK) Award.