April 15, 2024
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Israelis Develop First Blood Test for Breast Cancer

After eight years of painstaking research, Israeli life-sciences company Eventus Diagnostics (EventusDx) has produced a blood test for the early detection of breast cancer. The Octava Pink test is now available in Israel and Italy, and is undergoing clinical trials to receive US Food and Drug Administration approval.

This is the first blood test ever that can reveal cancer, not merely markers that might indicate cancer or something else. Its innovation also lies in its examination of antibodies in the blood to pinpoint this specific cancer.

Molecular biologist Galit Yahalom, who heads the research team at the EventusDx offices and lab, located in Moshav Ora outside of Jerusalem, explains the breakthrough to ISRAEL21c.

“For the last decade, we have known that there is a connection between cancer and the immune system,” says Yahalom, a 43-year-old mother of two from Modi’in who has been working on this project since its inception. “We know that it recognizes cancer as an external enemy that must be destroyed. It is possible that each of us has had instances of cancer we were unaware of, because our immune systems killed it when it was still very small. For whatever reason, the immune system of people with cancer is not functioning properly.”

Yahalom says that comparing the panels of elements characteristic of the women with breast cancer to those of healthy women created “pictures” of each group.

These categories are arrived at through a mathematical algorithm developed by EventusDx, a private company funded by American investors. The precision of the algorithm is high, with only a 5% margin of error.

“And even this small amount might not actually constitute error,” says Yahalom, “but rather the possibility that someone’s immune system detected a cancer that is either no longer there– because antibodies destroyed it–or that has not erupted yet.”

Detecting cancer quickly

Since the release of Octava Pink in Israel in September, Yahalom’s lab has performed 400 such blood tests.

Another innovation is the nanotechnology developed at EventusDx, which enables testing 96 blood samples simultaneously. This process takes no more than three hours, allowing a woman’s doctor to rule out or confirm breast cancer very quickly.

According to Yahalom, “Only 20 to 30 of every 100 biopsies performed as a result of growths detected in mammograms reveal cancer; the rest are benign. Meanwhile, 50% of young women with breast cancer, and 30% of older women with breast cancer, are diagnosed as healthy.”

The Octava Pink test has had astounding results, correctly diagnosing 95% of the healthy women and 75% of those with breast cancer. Though one in nine women will contract breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, only three in 1,000 have it at any given moment. This is why it is important for women to get regular checkups and to be provided this extra tool to assuage their fears. This particular tool costs NIS 700 (about $200), not including the fee charged by the doctor who purchases the Octava kit and sends it to Yahalom’s lab.

Her team is now working to improve the test, while exploring other cancers to target in the future. For more information, see www.eventusdx.com

By Ruthie Blum/ISRAEL21c

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