Detecting and preventing Colorectal cancer

1980 to present
Edmonton, Alberta
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Every week about 423 Canadians are diagnosed colorectal cancer (CRC) and a 175 die from it. Globally, it is one of the most common cancers. CRC is a common cancer, but is 90% preventable and treatable if caught early—but nearly 50%of cases aren’t.  In Canada it’s the second most commonly diagnosed and globally it’s the third most common. Early detection is critical, yet current screening options are invasive, expensive and not patient friendly:

  • Stool test – about 5-15% accurate in detecting colonic polyps while test is often not competed by patients because of format.
  • Colonoscopy – invasive, very costly and usually involves patient sedation.

Avoiding cancer before it starts 
A Univerity of Albetra research driven discovery led to a diagnostic innovation that dramatically increases detection accuracy and patient compliance. The technology is based on the emerging science of metabolomics, the study of small molecules or biomarkers (called metabolites). These biomarkers can help identify what’s happening inside your body, and help determine your health, nutrition, infection and disease status.

Researchers, Richard Fedorak and Haili Wang, discovered that metabolites could detect colonic polyps (pre-cursors to CRC) far more accurately than currently stool tests, so they developed a urine test to detect these polyps. Their goal—avoiding ‘cancer’ before it starts.

From lab to patients   
In 2010, UAlberta spin-off, Metabolomic Technologies Inc (MTI) was created to move the technology out of the lab and into the hands of doctors and patients. The company developed and launched PolypDx™ a urine test that detects pre-cancerous polyps with over 70% accuracy (vs. stool test).   

In fall 2016, Edmonton based MTI signed exclusive licensing deals to distribute the test  in 17 U.S. States, and completed a clinical trial in China. MTI plans to develop other metabalomic-based diagnostic tests to address other health diseases and conditions such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, celiac, IBS, acid reflux, and more.