Molecules, markers, mutations
An urgent need
The grim reality of cancer, with 10 million deaths in 2020 alone, accounting for 1 in 6 deaths worldwide, highlights the pressing need for a continued focus on research. In the US, 1.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, costing USD 174 billion. As the population ages, the incidence of various cancers is increasing. Early diagnosis and effective treatment can improve outcomes, and up to 50% of cancers could be prevented by addressing risk factors and implementing preventative strategies. This has led to several “moonshot” initiatives being launched in the US to accelerate oncology research, for example, since 2016 with funding of USD 1.8 billion.
Driving innovations in oncology research
Innovations such as cell and gene therapies, stem cells, and antibodies are driving rapid developments. At the same time, the increasing complexity of novel drugs requires scalable, robust, and reproducible solutions. Integrating biomarker knowledge into research, clinical trials, and diagnostics will enhance success rates, but further advances in precision medicine are needed. By scaling healthcare innovation globally, Tecan plays an important role in enabling its customers’ and partners’ research, which eventually will improve outcomes for cancer patients.
Molecular testing plays a crucial role in every stage of a cancer patient’s journey. To this end, Tecan is actively involved in all aspects of molecular oncology, from drug discovery and development to diagnostics, treatment, and prevention. One promising field is immuno-oncology, where whole genome sequencing, and “omics” studies are used to detect new cancer biomarkers, particularly in the cancer microenvironment. Key challenges in focus of today’s research include the delivery of drugs to individual cells, the understanding of cancer recurrence many years after successful treatment, and the link between DNA mutations and cancer development.
Tecan’s contributions to oncology research
In oncology research, Tecan is enabling genomic and proteomic workflows as well as the analysis of cells and tissue. The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) is an especially promising area that has revolutionized cancer research. The process of generating raw sequencing data can often be laborious and error-prone, plagued by issues of reproducibility and burnout among lab staff. Tecan has addressed these challenges by offering a comprehensive range of products and solutions for NGS automation. These include products for mRNA sequencing library preparation and multimode plate readers with live cell imaging and real-time cytometry. Together, these products bring unparalleled efficiency and reproducibility to oncology research as they are easily integrated into fully automated, user-friendly workflows that minimize the need for manual intervention. Besides helping our end-users with Tecan-branded products directly, we are also helping our partners to scale healthcare innovation. For NGS, for example, we develop and supply the fluidic modules for many sequencers in the market. In addition, we accelerate oncology research through novel tools – for example, in spatial biology.
Tecan’s NGS automation solutions democratize sequencing in oncology research by providing a scalable, fully automated, and reproducible workflow with hands-on time of just a few minutes. This makes them suitable even for lower throughput applications. Additionally, Tecan’s multimode plate readers open new doors for cell-based research by allowing real-time analysis of cancer cell growth dynamics, drug response screening, and cell death studies. Rather than being stuck with tedious, manual tasks, researchers can focus on making breakthrough discoveries. More time for thinking means more progress for research, empowered by Tecan.
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