Israeli lab develops blood test to detect breast cancer

US-based company with R&D branch near Jerusalem invents new technology to identify tumors rapidly, accurately and without radiation

Yifa Yaakov is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The Octava blood tests, developed for rapid, accurate detection of breast cancer tumors (photo credit: EventusDx)
The Octava blood tests, developed for rapid, accurate detection of breast cancer tumors (photo credit: EventusDx)

A Miami-based medical technology company with an R&D subsidiary in Moshav Ora, near Jerusalem, has developed an easy, non-invasive method to detect breast cancer early on – using a simple blood test.

In its laboratories near the capital, Eventus Diagnostics (EventusDx) has developed what it describes as an accurate, cost-effective, immune system-based means of detecting the presence of cancer in the breast tissue.

The Octava tests, which measure cancer-specific antibodies produced by the immune system in response to the growth of tumors, can be used to quickly diagnose breast cancer and identify false negative mammogram results.

The president of the company, Dr. Mavin Rosenberg, said the tests could be used by women with dense breast tissue who received normal mammogram results, or by women hoping to detect tumor cells without exposing themselves to radiation. Rosenberg said over 30 percent of breast cancer cases in women with dense breast tissue are missed by mammograms — a gap Eventus’s technology aims to address.

“The company’s core technology has the unique ability to accurately determine whether cancer is present by identifying and measuring certain combinations of these cancer-specific autoantibodies. The ability to assess these combinations to distinguish between healthy individuals and those with cancer is the foundation of the Eventus technology,” read a statement on the company’s website.

“Researchers have long realized that profiling the antibody repertoire of the immune system could potentially detect cancer in its early stages, even before the cancer is clinically evident,” the statement said.

“These findings led EventusDx scientists to develop methods to accurately identify these breast cancer-specific autoantibodies that could be used for early detection of the disease.”

The two chip-based tests, called Octava Pink and Octava Blue, require the patient to donate a small sample of plasma to quickly determine the presence of the antibodies.

According to the company’s website, the technology developed by EventusDx has already been patented after being verified in clinical trials with over 800 women in the US, Israel and Italy, and published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The findings showed that the Octava Blue test accurately identified the presence or absence of breast cancer in over 500 women who had positive mammograms followed by breast biopsy with “very high sensitivity.”

According to its website, Eventus recently secured $2.72 million in funding to finance a large clinical study of the Octava tests to support its application for FDA clearance.

The company said it was also trying to develop similar methods to diagnose other forms of cancer.

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