Sanford Health, Inanovate Seek Cancer Blood Test for Clinics

Test looks for increasing antibodies to predict breast cancer recurrence

June 28, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A Sanford Research scientist has developed a promising blood test that uses a patient’s own immune system as a biosensor to detect breast cancer. The application has been licensed to Inanovate, a medical technology company specializing in screening and analysis of proteins.

Kristi A. Egland, Ph.D., of Sanford Health, identified antibodies in breast cancer patients’ blood that recognizes proteins associated with the tumor. Her team of researchers makes the proteins in the lab and then uses them to test for the antibodies in patients’ blood. A simple blood draw is potentially enough to discover if the disease is present.

Egland envisioned the test while she was being treated for breast cancer.

“I was frustrated and thought, ‘we need to do better,’ ” she said.  Her test aims to do that. Blood antibody levels in breast cancer patients decrease during treatment, and the hope is, if they rise again, the blood test will pick that up and be a red flag for a physician to more closely monitor the patient.

In August 2017, Inanovate relocated to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, from Boston, Massachusetts, for better collaboration with Sanford Research. Inanovate was awarded a $2.3 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health in September 2017. In July, Inanovate and Sanford will commence a clinical trial, collect and store blood samples from consenting Sanford Health patients in the Sanford BioBank, and seek to validate the accuracy of the test.

Sanford Health is an investor in and part owner of Inanovate.

“The Sanford Health BioBank is an invaluable resource for translating scientific discoveries into routine health care,” said David Pearce, Ph.D., executive vice president of innovation and research for Sanford Health.

Egland agrees.

“All of the pieces of the puzzle have fit together perfectly,” Egland said.

Inanovate will use its patented biomarker analysis platform, BioID-800, to analyze the blood draw. The instrument recognizes different biomarkers in small samples of blood. The biomarkers Egland has linked with breast cancer were licensed to Inanovate and combined with Bio-ID.

“The integration of Sanford’s breast cancer biomarkers with our Bio-ID biomarker analysis platform provides a unique solution to breast cancer detection and monitoring,” said David Ure, CEO of Inanovate. “This technology could enable the detection of recurrent breast cancer at a stage when it may be more effectively treated and cured.”

The Edith Sanford Breast Foundation supported this project through funds dedicated to breast cancer research.

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