About This ProjectThe goal of ProVivoX is to use characteristics of the tumor against itself: more specifically, we want to identify if the patient would benefit from chemotherapy by dosing certain proteins directly in the tumor tissue. Our test will help cancer patients (and their clinicians) to minimize undesired side effects and maximize their quality of life. Our first target will be breast cancer, but we will soon extend to several other types of tumors.
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What is the context of this research?
Even with all the recent findings on cancer, a high number of cancer patients are not correctly diagnosed because their tumor is wrongly characterized. The particularities of cancer cells are often difficult to identify by standard medical methods, which yields a high number of patients who have the wrong treatment for their needs. Because of this, people who will never benefit from drug treatment have to endure difficult chemotherapy, while some others are not treated while they should be... Novel methods now exist that allow a direct characterization of distinct traits of the tumor, but very few products derived from these technologies are now freely available to patients. The goal of ProVivoX is to research and market a protein-based prognosis test to fill this crucial gap.
What is the significance of this project?
In order to provide a more comprehensive analysis of the cancer of a patient, the expression of multiple proteins is analyzed using a multiplex method coupled with image-analysis techniques and specific statistical algorithms. The results of this "scan" of the tumor will allow us to confirm the state of the tumor as well as to predict its aggressiveness and its associated survival rate. The information provided by our low-cost test will allow clinicians to determine the most effective treatment approach and will help make the right lifestyle choices for patients. In the context of drastic budget cuts in North-American healthcare systems, ProvivoX will help identify the right treatment for each patient according to his own tumor, a crucial step forward towards personalized medicine.
What are the goals of the project?
Because we won the business plan phase of the Breast Cancer Start-up Challenge (organized by the Avon Foundation), it allowed us to gain the exclusive license of the use of protein ratios in the context of the prognosis of several types of cancers.
Our next goals will be as follows:
1) The R&D : search for valid biomarkers correlated to patient survival and therapy response in collaboration with large tissue banks (which have already agreed to collaborate with us).
2) The laboratory : set-up of a clinical test using those biomarkers in a certified laboratory.
3) The agencies : approval of this test by regulatory institutions (FDA, Health Canada)
4) The clients : successful marketing of the test to patients and clinicians in US and Canada.
We are lucky enough to have found an existing laboratory that will allow us to do our research and development phase in their installations. However, we need to find a way to fund our R&D phase, a crucial period that will allow us to conceive a test that will help millions of cancer patients.
In the short term, we have to pay for cancerous tissues (stored in tissue banks) in order to analyze their protein expression and link these results to follow-up information on every single tumor donor. This research will be done in laboratories by cutting-edge specialists and technician. In this context, each dollar will be spent with only one goal in mind: identify the best tumor markers that will allow the most accurate prediction of each patient's mass aggressiveness and survival rate.
Meet the Team
Team BioThe founders of ProVivoX Inc. are 6 young professionals who have an expertise in several fields related to fundamental research, clinical research, management, finance and law. Together, they started ProVivoX to enter the Breast Cancer Start-up Challenge, an international entrepreneurship competition created by the Avon Foundation and the NIH to accelerate the commercialization of 10 scientific inventions. The team won the Business Plan phase of the challenge, a feat that allowed them to obtain the rights to the exclusive licence of the test they want to put to market.
I am Dr Vincent Menard and I’m representing ProVivoX in this fantastic crowd-funding journey offered by Experiment.com. I did my Ph.D. in pharmaceutical research before doing my finance MBA, both at Laval University in Quebec City. The scientific venture that is ProVivoX is a career-modelling experience that allows me to learn continuously and outdo myself at every challenge thrown our way.
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