Connecting Researchers With Innovative Technology To Improve Healthcare

By Kevin Hrusovsky, CEO And Executive Chairman, Quanterix

In a world where the diagnostics tests we currently provide to patients are riddled with false positives and invasive procedures, it’s imperative that the best and brightest in their respected therapeutic fields have access to the most innovative and groundbreaking technology today. We’ve found that the collaboration of researchers and scientists across organizations play a vital role in the continued advancement of disease diagnostics and improved treatment options.

At Quanterix, we’ve made this a priority with our Accelerator Lab, which is an innovation center for digitized biomarker research, custom assay development and clinical sample testing. Aligning with our mission to support innovation in healthcare, we’ve held two grant competitions to encourage researchers to submit proposals for a chance to secure access to our Simoa technology and state-of-the-art Accelerator Lab – and have seen some pretty groundbreaking research, as a result.

Accelerating Preventative Treatment for Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Recent research from Pharmerit International and Vertex Pharmaceuticals analyzed data from a clinical trial, called STRIVE, which included 161 Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients age 12 or older. As a result of the study, the researchers suggested that a reduction in pulmonary exacerbations would likely improve the health-related quality of life among CF patients.

Dr. Brad Quon, a Clinician-Scientist from the University of British Columbia St. Paul’s Hospital Centre for Heart Lung Innovation, is well aware of these stats and was awarded the first Accelerator grant to further his research in CF. His innovative biomarker development program is focused on discovering and validating blood-based biomarkers to predict impending pulmonary exacerbations in CF patients. These findings would allow doctors to use these new blood tests to target the right treatment to the right patient at the right time to prevent pulmonary exacerbations in the future.

Taking a Stand against Breast Cancer

According to a recent study in the journal, “Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention,” 31.1% of women ages 40 to 49 who got a mammogram received false-positive results. Further, those with false-positive mammogram results were shown to have a slightly higher risk of developing invasive breast cancer within the next 10 years.

With our continued emphasis on oncology, and these stats in mind, we decided to focus our second grant on research in that therapeutic category and selected Katie Gilligan and Dr. Roisin Dwyer from the National University of Ireland out of several other impressive submissions. They plan to focus on protein biomarkers for breast cancer, which have been historically unreliable indicators this specific disease. However, Katie and Dr. Dwyer believe that by isolating exosomes, the proteins will be much more reliable, which would be especially groundbreaking. Using our Simoa technology, these researchers will have the ability to further test the reliability of these exosome-encapsulated proteins as non-invasive markers of breast cancer to provide earlier detection and advanced treatment of this disease, thus, improving patient outcomes in the future.

These are just two examples of the ways in which our Accelerator Lab is, quite literally, accelerating advancements in healthcare. By providing these researchers with access to our ultra-sensitive Simoa technology, we hope to continue to see groundbreaking discoveries in several different therapeutic areas to transform the way in which we treat patients today. We encourage other companies with similar innovations to allow this type of partnership and experimentation to further enable early disease detection.