Singapore Introduces Low-Cost, Precise Cancer Blood Test


Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a revolutionary, inexpensive technique for cancer screening. This novel test, known as the Heatrich-BS assay, uses heated biomarkers to analyze blood samples in order to find cancer-specific signals.

The novel technique offers tissue biopsies as a promising non-invasive replacement. When compared to alternative sequencing methods, which can cost up to S$1,000 to complete, it costs about S$50 from beginning to end.

The team, which includes academics from the NUS Institute for Health Innovation & Ideas and the NUS Department of Biomedical Engineering, is currently looking into business collaborations to help commercialise their technology. The team is headed by Assistant Professor Cheow Lih Feng.

The National Cancer Centre in Singapore has tested the Heatrich-BS assay to monitor patients with colorectal cancer. The scientists discovered a strong association between the amount of cancer-specific DNA found in a patient’s blood sample and the development of their tumours over time by comparing the findings of their blood testing with CT scans that assessed the size of the patients’ tumours.

The assay might hasten upcoming academic research by enabling researchers to explore many cancer subtypes on a budget, leading to better cancer detection and treatment in the future.

Now, Asst. Prof. Cheow and his group are looking into methods to work with pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms that can assist in bringing the Heatrich-BS assay to market in order to commercialise their assessment.