Early detection of brain cancer has moved one step closer, through a breakthrough by cancer diagnostics firm, and University of Strathclyde spinout company, Dxcover.

The company has shown that its innovative testing technology, the Dxcover® Liquid Biopsy, is effective even in the earlier days of cancer growth, at a smaller volume and lower stage.

According to Cancer Research UK, 12,000 people in Britain are diagnosed with brain tumours every year and survival rates are as low as 12% five years after diagnosis.

Earlier detection, when a tumour is smaller, reduces the harm from surgery and other treatments, so people can live better, for longer. By detecting extremely small tumours, this research provides the evidence that Dxcover’s diagnostic test can have a significant impact in shortening the time from symptom onset to diagnosis for patients, supporting primary care doctors in their decision making.

The study has been published in the journal Cancers.

Dr Matt Baker, Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Dxcover Limited, said: “This breakthrough is a watershed moment in the development of early cancer detection. The study demonstrates the effectiveness of our Dxcover® Brain Cancer Liquid Biopsy at detecting even the smallest brain tumours, which is great news for the care of future brain cancer patients, increasing treatment options and potentially extending life expectancy.

“Clinical tests like this are a crucial part of Dxcover’s journey to develop and commercialise a widely accepted Multi-Cancer Early Detection platform to help save lives.”

The journal confirmed the Dxcover® Brain Cancer test as being effective in identifying small and low-grade gliomas. The study involved 177 patients with varying sizes of brain tumours providing blood samples for analysis by Dxcover.

The samples underwent the spectroscopic analysis under infra-red light and processed using machine learning software. The test and analysis were found to be effective in identifying brain tumours in patients with gliomas as small as 0.2cm3.

Dxcover Limited has raised £5.1 million in funding to develop its spectroscopy and artificial intelligence technology as a Multi Cancer Early Detection (MCED) Platform, to help diagnose brain and other cancers quickly and accurately from a simple blood test.

Dxcover’s highly effective early diagnostic tests could revolutionise cancer detection, potentially saving the lives of patients who can be treated more effectively in the early stages of cancer.

The latest breakthrough coincides with the company announcing that it has wholly acquired all of the intellectual property (IP) rights for its Multi-Cancer Early Detection Platform in a deal with Strathclyde. The IP deal means that Dxcover now owns all of the patents for its MCED technology platform and has no requirement to pay royalties.

Dr Mark Hegarty, CEO and Co-founder of Dxcover, saID: “We have been developing an extensive patent portfolio to protect the commercialisation of our technology. The core patents have been granted in Europe, the USA and China and they enable us to develop tests for all types of cancer.

“Full ownership of all of the IP has been a strategic goal since we formed the company, as this enables greater flexibility in striking collaborative partnerships and commercial deals.”