From Jiji Press
November 16 2021
TOKYO – A Japanese biotechnology startup said Tuesday that it has successfully identified patients with pancreatic cancer using genetically modified roundworms.
Tokyo-based Hirotsu Bio Science Inc. hopes to commercialize the simple test using a drop of urine for pancreatic cancer, which is difficult to spot at an early stage, within next year. The firm is known for having developed methods to detect cancer at an early stage with the use of roundworms and urine of patients.
Takaaki Hirotsu, president of the firm, developed in 2015 a highly precise cancer detection method utilizing the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, which has a strong sense of smell. He was associate professor at Kyushu University at the time. The urine of cancer patients has a unique odor.
He established Hirotsu Bio Science to offer screening services, but its tests had been unable to identify specific types of cancer.
The company analyzed the olfactory receptors of the nematode and found a gene that reacts only to the urine of pancreatic cancer patients.