Arizona bioscience firms are making waves for cancer treatment

Bioscience firms in the state like Paradigm Diagnostics and VisionGate have developed new technology and drugs to help discover and treat early cancer.

Phoenix-based Paradigm Diagnostics recently raised nearly nine million dollars from venture capitalists in its Series B funding round. Paradigm has developed its flagship genetics examination called Paradigm Cancer Diagnostics Test, which displays and examines the genetics of individual cancer tumors, even when the tumors are young or have not spread rampantly. The test will help doctors to target cancer and eliminate it in early stages.

Additionally, Phoenix-based VisionGate has rolled out diagnostic technology and pharmaceuticals to tackle early and pre-stage cancer. According to VisionGate Vice President Randy Mastrangelo, the bioscience firm has developed a technology that allows pathologists to view three-dimensional representations of individual cells.

Mastrangelo explains, “The Cell-CT performs a 3D image of a single cell. Because of that, we are able to see with exceptional detail what a single cell looks like. We can find unique cells this way and bio-image them in a way that has not been possible prior to our technology.”

In fact, Mastrangelo highlights that the company is able to view over 700 features of a single cell – in comparison, facial recognition technology can analyze just 100 features of the human face. This meticulous detail allows pathologists to understand the complexities of every at-risk cancerous and pre-cancerous cell.

The company uses this diagnostic in tandem with their pharmaceutical development, which helps target dysplasia – cells that are in danger of becoming cancerous. Mastrangelo continues, “The lungs are a hard organ to sample, but our test can determine if there is dysplasia present as well. Because of this, we were able to license in a drug developed at the University of Colorado — using a method called chemoprevention (which has been used in breast cancer) — which helps prevent lung cancer from appearing.”

He also notes that this will save patients money. Generally, cancer and dysplasia treatments can require surgery. But because VisionGate’s diagnostic is not invasive, they can optimally target dysplasia early and mitigate the negative effects it might have.

“It will certainly be a more cost-effective approach than what is currently occurring. On average, the cost of treating a patient is 10 to 13 thousand dollars to do a biopsy,” says Mastrangelo. “Some patients even have collapsed lungs, which can cost even more — we are a much more cost-effective approach and give more definitive results without being invasive.”

Companies like Paradigm and VisionGate shine a light on cancer treatment not only statewide, but also globally. As they continue to test and develop their diagnostics and pharmaceuticals, patients will face cheaper treatment costs and experience more effective results in their medical battles.

Ben Norman

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