Cancer treatment is a frustrating waiting game at the present time. Patients with solid tumors often undergo brutal chemotherapy cycles for weeks to months before they can get an idea (through radiologic examination) of whether their therapy has been working to shrink their tumor. At times, the studies show the therapy is working , but at other times, the studies may show that in fact, treatment may be failing, allowing the cancer to grow. This delay in diagnosis in cancer treatment is what the life sciences startup Blondin Bioscience hopes to correct.
Blondin Bioscience is a company that is currently developing a point-of-care molecular diagnostic assay which they hope will disrupt the traditional current model of care for cancer patients. Their test, which is called FACT (fluorescent analysis of cell-free telomeres), has the ability to detect a nucleic acid biomarker (telomeres) in the blood that is released from dying cancer cells. Blondin Bioscience proposes that this test can be used as an adjunct to cancer treatment, allowing oncologists to monitor the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment in real-time–days, not weeks or months–and thereby, be able to quickly direct treatments and improve outcomes for patients. Additional benefits are the cheaper cost versus radiologic studies and cost savings from potentially avoiding ineffective treatments, as well as easier access, as this test could be made available in doctors’ offices versus having to make patients travel to centralized, larger hospitals and centers in order to have radiologic studies. Patients would also know sooner whether their treatment is working, thereby decreasing the emotional toll of cancer treatment.
Blondin Bioscience is based in Birmingham, Alabama, and is lead by Chief Executive Officer Brad Spencer, and founders Dr. Katri Selander and Dr. Kevin Harris, who are both Assistant Professors of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and are members of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Their leadership team also includes Director of Research Dr. Kate Hayden and Director of Operations Kathleen Hamrick.
Thus far, Blondin Bio has raised $750,000 from an NIH SBIR grant and has been studying their testing method in a clinical trial for prostate cancer, but hopes to scale in order to test other cancer types.
For more information, please visit their website here: Blondin Bioscience.
(Disclosure: Blondin Bioscience is a client of my consulting practice.)