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Innovative Glycan-based analysis for Cancer diagnostics

Project description

A sensitive diagnostic for prostate cancer

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is currently used as a biomarker for prostate cancer. However, PSA tests lack diagnostic accuracy as they have a high false positive rate, leading to wrong treatments and unnecessary prostate biopsies. To address this problem, scientists of the EU-funded GlyCan project have developed an innovative diagnostic assay capable of detecting glycan changes on the PSA protein. The test has 86 % accuracy and can discriminate between the healthy and the abnormal form of the protein. The GlyCan approach offers a reliable method for analysing complex biomolecules, and its use can also extend to other diseases.


Worldwide, there are 1.6M new prostate cancer (PCa) cases with 366k deaths annually. Novel PCa biomarkers are needed since the best current PCa biomarker (prostate specific antigen (PSA)) lacks PCa diagnostic accuracy often resulting in mistreatment of PCa patients. The false-positive rate of PSA in blood serum is ~75%. PSA test is applied together with digital rectal examination (DRE) for preliminary screening. If the combined results are suspicious, the patients undergo a biopsy to confirm PCa. Yet, there are 74% of needless biopsies representing a significant pain for PCa patients and societal/economic burden.

Based on a great commercial outcome from the ERC grant (311532) granted to Dr. Jan Tkac (co-founder/CSO of Glycanostics), the company has developed an innovative, non-invasive, early PCa diagnostics using blood serum. Instead of quantifying PSA, the innovative PCa diagnostic assay detect glycan changes on PSA protein (it discriminates between “healthy” PSA and “sick” PSA and accurately quantify the clinically relevant “sick” PSA). The technology is covered by two EPO patent applications owned by the company. The PCa diagnostic test with 95% accuracy will be applied as a 2nd opinion test in case of suspicious results from PSA & DRE examinations prior sending to a biopsy. PCa DX kit will be launched for clinics/hospital & cancer centres (B2B) and Prostate check home test for user-friendly application at homes (B2C).

Our PCa diagnostic technology is unique compared to our competitors focusing on analysis of other complex biomolecules such as a level of proteins, mRNA and circulating DNA. Moreover, we have competitive advantage over competitors in terms of cost per sample, assay accuracy, simplicity of the assay enabling the home testing and high-throughput.

Glycanostics consists of 7 core team members, 4 business and 4 scientific advisors making a great and highly experienced team that will bring these innovative PCa early diagnostic products to the market.

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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
841 01 Bratislava

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Slovensko Bratislavský kraj Bratislavský kraj
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 71 429,00