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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Faculty & Staff

Device efficiently detects spreading cancer

A new medical device co-developed by a physicist at UH detects the spread of breast cancer and allows physicians to better prescribe a treatment plan, and it will be increasing its market influence, bringing it closer to clinical trials around the country.

The probe, which can better detect breast cancer, is expected to be available across America soon. |  Courtesy of

The probe, which can better detect breast cancer, is expected to be available across America soon. | Courtesy of

Audrius Brazdeikis, a research associate professor of physics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and his colleagues at the University of London co-developed this device, which has been in distribution for more than a year in Europe.

“Since it helps detect the spreading of cancer more efficiently,” Brazdeikis said, “I would imagine it will become widely available in America in a short amount of time.”

The SentiMag is an extremely sensitive intraoperative probe that allows surgeons to have better accuracy when attempting to locate the sentinel lymph node, which is the first lymph node in which a tumor’s metastasizing cancer cells drain.

This patented method removes the need for radiation, increases the speed of the detection process, and it puts the detection of the sentinel lymph node in the hands of surgeons.

“Seeing the original concept go through changes and advance in the marketplace has been very gratifying,” Brazdeikis said. “Developing strategies between the scientific aspect and the business market has been the most challenging.”

Throughout these challenges, distribution of the product has reached beyond Europe. This came as a result of a signed agreement between Sysmex Europe GmbH, a leading international company that develops and produces diagnostic solutions for laboratories across the world, and Endomagnetics Ltd., a medical company focussed on magnetic sensing and nanotechnology in medicine. Brazdeikis formed Endomagnetics with physics professor Quentin Pankhurst and systems engineer Simon Hattersley from UCL.

“It was a business concept we developed to bring our technology into the forefront of the marketplace,” Pankhurst said.

The SentiMag system was initially funded by the UK-Texas Bioscience Initiative and is now in use in eight European countries. With Sysmex holding the exclusive right to manage sales and support for this groundbreaking progression in Europe and some Middle Eastern and African countries, the system will be provided a strong backing for further advancement and expansion. It is believed by the co-developers that this device is going to be essential to those in need of treatment from this disease.

“I am convinced that getting the device circulated worldwide is a positive step in cancer treatment,” Brazdeikis said. “Maybe this could be the right step in eventually eliminating cancer altogether.”

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