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Tiny chip is one of many in the running to replace biopsy in cancer detection

Replacing the painful biopsy process with an instrument system and reagent kit that could detect cancer cells in the blood before they metastasize is the goal of a touted startup hoping to raise money this year. With its microfluidic chip to detect, separate and capture circulating cancer cells from peripheral whole blood, DeNovo Sciences hopes […]

Replacing the painful biopsy process with an instrument system and reagent kit that could detect cancer cells in the blood before they metastasize is the goal of a touted startup hoping to raise money this year.

With its microfluidic chip to detect, separate and capture circulating cancer cells from peripheral whole blood, DeNovo Sciences hopes to be able to identify cancer before primary tumors are detected and enable earlier treatment.

For most cancers, collecting and examining cells via biopsy is the most common method for making a definitive cancer diagnosis.

Microfluidic chips that capture cancer cells in the blood have been studied at multiple research institutions for a few years now, and other companies, including Veridex, a diagnostic subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson; CytoScale Diagnostics LLC and On-Q-ity, are developing more sophisticated tests that could also help guide and monitor treatment. According to BCC Research, these and other imaging, genetic and cellular analysis tests make up an extensive pipeline for the detection and diagnosis of cancer that’s expected to contribute to a market worth $5.3 billion in 2015.

With limited details about DeNovo’s test, it’s hard to tell how it would differ from other tests on the market. A call to the company requesting an interview was not returned.

According to a 2011 story from Concentrate, the startup is looking to raise a round of capital to make its prototype this year. It’s already raised $310,000 from 17 investors, according to a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. DeNovo, founded in 2011, also won a $500,000 first-place prize in the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition in November.

In September, DeNovo hired CEO Kalyan Handique, a co-founder of HandyLab Inc., which was sold to Becton, Dickinson and Co. for $275 million in 2009.

DeNovo is housed at the Michigan Life Science & Innovation Center in Plymouth, Michigan.

[Photo from flickr user breahn]

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