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Researchers show multi-cancer early detection potential of glycosaminoglycans as biomarkers


Swedish cancer detection company Elypta has published groundbreaking research showcasing the multi-cancer early detection (MCED) potential of glycosaminoglycans as biomarkers of tumour metabolism. The research conducted at Chalmers University of Technology by Elypta founders Prof. Jens Nielsen and Dr Francesco Gatto has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). doi:

“These results made us realize that there is an opportunity to commercialize a highly differentiated MCED test with industry-leading realworld stage I sensitivity and cost-efficiency. While we continue to advance our technology, we also now engage with clinicians interested in working with us to explore optimal settings for future clinical implementation,” said Karl Bergman, Elypta CEO.

Researchers developed a test based on the measurement of free glycosaminoglycan profiles in plasma and urine using Elypta’s MIRAM kit and samples from 979 participants diagnosed with 14 different cancer types, including types difficult to detect with other methods such as brain tumours and kidney cancer, and healthy subjects. The test was successfully validated in a separate population diagnosed with cancer within 18 months after sampling. In this screening-like study, the test detected 43% of future cancers with a lethal outcome and only 1% false positives. The test proved exceptionally sensitive to stage I cancer, doubling the detection rate reported by any genomic biomarkers validated in similar populations. The estimated testing cost was less than US$50 with low sample volumes needed, underlining the potential for widespread use.

“Early diagnosis offers the best chance of curing cancer today. Systemic biomarkers can detect cancer prior to clinical symptoms indicating its location. To provide clinical benefits such markers need to be highly specific and sensitive across many different cancer types. The complex biology of cancer calls for multiple biomarkers to be combined to optimize performance. The reported metabolic multi-cancer early detection biomarker results are an exciting addition to this emerging field. They hold potential to refine the target population for screening and to detect additional cancer types,” said Dr Volker Liebenberg, Elypta chief medical officer.

Earlier in 2022, Elypta launched the clinical study LEVANTIS-0087A, intended to validate the clinical performance of glycosaminogly-cans as metabolic biomarkers for MCED. The study aims to detect any type of cancer in close to 10,000 adults who show no symptoms or have any recent history of cancer.