10 Israeli startups of intrigue presented at the Geektime conference this week, the coolest conference to ever have the name Geek attached to it. In this series we’ll be providing you with an in-depth look at said startups, if for no other reason than the fact that we can’t have you, our avid Geektime readers, not being able to keep up with the conversation at the next big soiree you attend where everyone will obviously be talking about these companies. So without further ado, here they are in all their glory:
mirOculus was established as part of the summer program over at Singularity University located at NASA’s Research Park last summer. As participants in the program the students were asked to develop a solution that will use a product or exponential technologies to meet the global challenge that will affect billions of people over the course of the next decade.
During the program Faye Christodoulou – a post doctoral student from Greece specializing in microRNA – met Pablo Olivares – a Chilean doctor and founder of startup Dandoo, Alejandro Tocigl, Ferran Galindo, Jorge Soto – Head of Innovation for the Mexican government, and Gilad Gome – a biotechnology researcher at Tel Aviv University and winner of the Ramon Prize.
The group elected to take on a project to impact global health and to that end they’ve developed a biochemical test to be used as an early warning system of multiple cancer types using MicroRNAs as their screening identifiers. During the program the team created a prototype device capable of performing this multilateral test which can be placed in any nurses office and is performed with no more complexity than a standard blood test.
MicroRNA, what are they exactly?
Various forms of cancerous tissue have very different profiles as depicted by the newly discovered and relatively small molecules known as microRNAs. Comparing these profiles allows researchers and doctors to identify different types of cancers with relatively high percentage of accuracy.
Recent years have begun to see the identification of miRNAs outside of cells, their presence or the lack thereof within body fluids, serving as an indication of the early formation of cancerous tissue.
Currently, existing probes require expensive equipment and materials with skilled operators to conduct detection tests. This new technology offers an effective yet cheaper and faster solution with whcih to discover microRNA, cancerous profiles. The test transfers the collected data to servers in the cloud that analyze the miRNA patterns and deliver a prognosis.
These and other findings indicate a very positive future for the use of RNA Biological markers in body fluids to help detect and treat pathological disorders, something urgently needed to help reduce the mortality rate specifically related to cancer and perhaps other diseases in the future.
Mir.I.Am is a “box” through which the miRNA test plate is placed. The machine requires no specialist training so any nurse can theoretically perform the test. After the sample is placed within Mir.I.Am the data is sent cloud servers for analysys with a full waiting for results averaging from between 30-60 minutes. As such, any doctor visit can include the possibility of a routine cancer check with results coming in by the time the full doctor checkup is over.
The Mir.I.Am product has yet to officially launch but the team has a working prototype in Mexico. Meanwhile, mirOculus has filed a provisional patent provizor with the team securing exclusive rights to the invention and all its accompanying Intellectual Property.
Having to compete with biotech giants like Agilent Life and Asicon, mirOculus’s product and methodological breakthroughs affords a clear competitive edge despite the companies relatively tiny size. This small and affordable solution can easily be seen replacing the expensive and cumbersome technologies of its competitors. The company estimates that the cost of the chemical, machine and newly developed data analysis can break the miRNA diagnostic methods that exist in the industry and they plan to sell the equipment at an affordable coast as to allow the penetration of all markets around the world with the aim of promoting the early diagnosis of cancer and other diseases in the future.