Gregor Diagnostics is focusing on the development of an at-home test to screen for prostate cancer, and differentiate between indolent and aggressive forms of cancer. Gregor Diagnostics has raised $900,000 from investors as part of a seed funding round. These fundings will support its efforts to develop a new, at-home screening test for prostate cancer that the company hopes will offer a more precise alternative to the current testing standard for the disease.
Prostate Cancer is the second deadliest cancer for American men, it will kill a projected 29,430 in 2018. Simultaneously, it is overdiagnosed and overtreated in men with indolent prostate cancer. This leads to unnecessary treatments such as prostatectomy and radiation therapy. Performing a blood-based, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test - which measures levels of a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland - is currently the most common method to screen for prostate cancer. The PSA test tends to pick up not only aggressive forms of prostate cancer but also slow-developing, 'indolent' cancers, which are much less likely to harm patients. Picking up indolent cancers leads to lots of false positive test results at the screening stage.
PSA has several shortcomings, including:
- PSA can be elevated for reasons other than Prostate Cancer.
- PSA and its variants miss a large portion of aggressive Prostate Cancers.
- PSA can’t distinguish between indolent and aggressive prostate cancers. Leading many patients to undergo unnecessary treatments.
Because the PSA test is no longer recommended, screening rates of men in the United States have declined. Lower screening reduces the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of Prostate Cancer as intended by the recommendation. However, by screening fewer men for Prostate Cancer, aggressive cancers will also be missed. This will lead to more avoidable Prostate Cancer deaths in the future that's why the mission of Gregor Diagnostics is to create a better screening test to determine the Aggressiveness of Prostate Cancer. The company is seeking to bring to market a diagnostic that’s more precise than a PSA test. If that comes to pass, the result could be fewer men needing to undergo biopsies and other invasive procedures.
Gregor Diagnostics wants to improve on the status quo in prostate cancer screening by trying to tackle this problem from both angles: by decreasing over-diagnosis and over-treatment while enabling more effective detection of aggressive prostate cancer. The test would screen for prostate cancer using samples of seminal fluid, rather than blood.
Gregor Diagnostics see the solution in using the seminal fluid as a sample source. The company develops a screening test that can accurately determine if an asymptomatic patient has no cancer, indolent cancer, or aggressive cancer. The prostate produces about out 30% of the total volume seminal fluid; this gives it the distinct advantage of having direct, non-invasive access to prostate cancer biomarkers. These important biomarkers would be undetectable at the same stage of cancer development by other sample types such as blood or urine. The sample collection allows for a wide reach as patients can produce the sample in the privacy of their own home and ship the sample back to the lab. The Seminal Fluid Advantage is that over 250,000X more biomarker in Seminal Fluid than in blood serum.
Thus, Gregor Diagnostics has developed a proprietary system to maintain biomarker stability in the seminal fluid. This will allow samples to be collected in the comfort of the patient's home and shipped back to Gregor's laboratory. The sample stability system will allow the prostate cancer screening test to be used by men in even the most remote areas. The company will leverage the most promising combination of markers and methods to screen for prostate cancer.