If I could wave my magic wand and work on anything in the next chapter of my technology career, it would be something like this:
A team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Washington at Tacoma has developed a novel platform to diagnose infectious disease at the point of care, using a smartphone as the detection instrument in conjunction with a test kit in the format of a credit card.
Wow. Duke University researchers have prototyped a device that can separate tiny exosomes from blood samples using microfluidics and acoustics. The angle and frequency of the sound waves introduced in this device can actually “push” the particles into appropriate sorting channels for further analysis.
After my gall bladder surgery in early 2014, I got to thinking…could the doctor have checked the other organs (e.g. pancreas, liver, et al) while doing the removal procedure for my gall bladder? How do I know if I have early stages of cancer in my body? The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to learn more. So I started following the news stories that had anything to do with early cancer detection. This article gave me a real shot in the arm when I read it in early 2015. Since then, I have been reading and researching many different articles on early cancer detection. Being a computer engineer, this is challenging, since I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention in chemistry class…and I never had a college level biology class. So, a kind associate let me borrow his medical terminology book so that I could learn. Always be a learner!
Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with an experimental app called “BiliScreen” that can detect small amounts of bilirubin in the whites of your eyes. Since pancreatic cancer raises levels of bilirubin, this could be a way to detect this elusive cancer much earlier.
Here is one example of a cancer diagnostic company paving the way for early adoption through partnership with a health insurance company.
One of the more interesting companies in this space is Epic Sciences who recently announced the completion of a Series D funding round. What is very interesting about Epic’s approach is their “no cell left behind” approach. By maintaining all cells on a slide, there is an opportunity to better classify and categorize what is going on.
There are ~40 companies actively pursuing techniques for early cancer detection using simple blood draws, urine samples, et al. And the space is getting crowded. There is lots to do in this area to make it more efficient, cost-effective, and accurate. New ventures will need to “find a lane” to race in to be successful. Send me an email if you’d like to discuss this.
Here is a link to an article I co-wrote with Colin Rhodes, CTO of eHealth Global Technologies.
In 2004, I was managing a consumer software project management team at a rather large company. One of my project managers came to me with this “new” idea (i.e. “Agile Project Management”). Once I learned more about the concept, I quickly realized that this was indeed the “better way” to do software projects. Why? Because at that time, our engineering team was never happy with the timeliness and completeness of requirements. Requirements analysts were hard to come by, or were being “volunteered” to write requirements in their “magic time”.
This is the article that opened my eyes to the area of liquid biopsies for early cancer detection. As it turns out, the area of liquid biopsies has a long way to go to be an acceptable method for early cancer detection. However, it is helping accelerate the development of cancer treatments, particularly for the pharmaceutical industry.
24-hour cancer blood test from a GP