Indian startup develops AI-based blood test to detect 32 cancers early


An India-based startup PredOmix has developed a novel blood test that can detect about 32 cancers in both men and women, with 98 per cent accuracy.

The Gurugram-based company’s OncoVeryx-F is a patented technology that combines metabolomics (study of small molecules) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify metabolite signatures of multiple cancers in a single test.

“Metabolomics is a particularly suitable technique for cancer detection since metabolic reprogramming constitutes one of the hallmarks of cancer cells. By using appropriate big data algorithms, metabolite asignatures’ characteristic of cancer can be accurately extracted from the serum metabolome,” Dr. Kanury V.S. Rao, Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), PredOmix, told IANS.

The test was first launched in 2022 and identified four major female-specific malignancies in a single blood test: breast, endometrium, cervix, and ovary. The company has now upgraded it to 32 cancers of both men and women that are notoriously difficult to detect otherwise.

These are pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, brain cancer, and sarcomas. In addition to this, cancers that cause the most deaths in India – breast cancer, cervical cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer, esophageal cancer, oral cancer and prostate cancer – are also covered.

OncoVeryx-F also aids in determining the presence or absence of cancer as well as the tissue of origin or cancer type, the company said.

“The development of this test will have a considerable impact on cancer mortality, especially in situations when the early discovery of the disease might significantly improve treatment outcomes.This test will enable medical practitioners to detect cancer early, leading to more effective treatment regimens and a higher chance of survival,” Rao said.

“Cancer needs to be addressed immediately because it is the main cause of premature deaths worldwide and the best way to reduce cancer-related mortality is still early-stage detection,” he noted, adding that the current screening procedures can only detect a small number of cancers.

For example, while the accuracy of mammography for breast cancer screening is between 80-95 per cent, that of either the pap test or colonoscopy for cervical and colorectal cancer screening is only approximately 70 per cent.

“Additionally, each of these screening methods is intended to find just one specific form of cancer. Symptoms that only manifest in the later stages of the disease still serve as the basis for the diagnosis of the remaining cancer types. We recognise the need for better screening methods and are proud to announce the expansion of our current cancer screening test to a 32-cancer test for both men and women, including hard-to-detect cancers for the Indian population,” Rao told IANS.

To test their technology, a field study was conducted with blood samples collected from over 4,000 patients spread across different geographic regions of India.

The company said the results were “excellent”, and the average detection accuracy was 98 per cent. It has now filed a provisional international patent application with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Clinical trials with over 10,000 people in India have also been initiated by the company in order to validate the results.

The company’s current licence is for their software “as a medical device” from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation

“Currently this is a laboratory developed test, however we will be completing our Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved clinical trial in the next few months and plan to get DGCI approval soon,” the company said.

The test for women specific cancers is priced at ₹12,000, the company said, adding that the cost would be different for the 32 cancers for men, which “is still under development and would be available later this year”.

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