Test in time
How Tecan helps diagnose cancer earlier
Early diagnosis of cancer remains a central challenge in effective disease management: the outlook for a patient with an early Stage 1 diagnosis is much more optimistic than a patient in late Stage 4. Late diagnosis is also an enormous drain on hard pressed healthcare budgets. Key trends include (1) precision, personalized medicine approaches that combine an individual diagnosis with tailored treatments that in some cases may even be genome-specific, (2) the addition of more advanced and automated staining methods, and (3) the improvements in liquid biopsy options to complement established tissue-based tests for non-invasive cancer detection and monitoring of the patient’s response to treatment. Tecan’s modular and flexible approach to automation and scale-up means we already play throughout these areas. Here are just a few examples.
Taking the pain out of biopsy sample prep
The liquid biopsy market was estimated to be over USD 4 billion in 20221, and is expected to grow significantly, rising to well over USD 10 billion by 20282. At Tecan, we are already well-positioned to address this market with our off-the-shelf and customized modules and platforms for specific workflow steps in the liquid biopsy processing workflow, be that for sample prep, nucleic acid extraction, or NGS library prep. In the future, this modular workflow approach will result in more integrated platforms, encompassing several – or even all steps – in a single “sample-to-result” instrument.
Tecan’s approach already enables nucleic acid extraction3 and library prep4 with its fully automated workstations. We take these capabilities to genetic testing labs that operate under LDT/CLIA regulations at the forefront of innovative cancer diagnostics, for example in hereditary cancer testing, or the genetic profiling of tumors. With this expertise and our existing platforms, we are the partner of choice for global diagnostics companies to de-risk and accelerate the development of more integrated systems to scale liquid biopsy workflows for hospitals. There, these systems can be used to detect minimal residual disease in patients, monitor cancer recurrence, or their response to a specific treatment, simply by checking for tumor DNA (cfDNA) in the patients’ blood.
Speeding up the journey from biopsy to analysis
Tecan also plays a vital role in tissue-based diagnostics involving histochemistry and in-situ hybridization, activities that are essential yet notorious for being highly labor-intensive for pathology labs. Having designed an instrument that allows the automation of various advanced staining techniques, Tecan catapulted its partners from early development to full-on manufacture of instruments5 that have finally succeeded in achieving the goal of the full automation of these processes, while fully meeting regulatory requirements. In another example, Tecan’s Partnering Business is enabling an innovative approach to the diagnosis of multiple myeloma using mass spectrometry, in developing a Fluent-based solution6 that is optimized to prepare MALDI slides with high precision and sensitivity. Patients’ primary unprocessed samples can now be prepared for mass spectrometry in a robust, reproducible, and automated process in the clinical testing environment. In both examples, there is an immense impact on both speeding up the arrival of a patient diagnosis to the cancer clinician, at an earlier point in the disease, leading to better outcomes.
The ever-increasing rate of discovery regarding cancer mechanisms, pathways, and biomarkers has led to significant and ongoing advances in personalized treatments and methods for earlier diagnosis. At Tecan, we enable the automation of some of the most labor-intensive workflows in precision medicine. We can empower our customers to realize the key goal of cancer diagnosis: the accurate diagnosis of every patient as early as possible in the disease.