The global cancer burden is increasing rapidly in developing countries where populations continue to expand. The lack of resources and basic health infrastructure means that most people in developing countries have no access to cancer screening, early diagnosis, treatment or palliative care. Many patients are frequently sent home to die without comfort or palliative care. It is therefore of utmost importance to develop an affordable, reliable, accurate and sensitive cancer biomarker device to detect cancer at an early stage. Although disease initiation and progression result from genetic and epigenetic changes, it is now well known that inflammation (hallmark of cancer) plays a major role in tumour development and progression (Hanahan and Weinberg, 2011).
One serum marker, which is central in the development of inflammation and is associated with inflammatory linked diseases such as cancer, is serum amyloid A (SAA). Currently, SAA levels are detected using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and mass spectrometry. These methods are not always that sensitive, and are expensive and time consuming. Scientists world-wide are searching for a reliable, accurate and sensitive cancer biomarker and a point-of-care device so that oncologists can make immediate decisions about the type of treatment required.
Various patents filed, some granted. ( Australia, China, South Africa, India and USA).
Prof E Pretorius: Physiological Sciences, Stellenbosch University (Royal Society of South Africa member)
Prof AM Engelbrecht: Physiological Sciences, Stellenbosch University
Prof WJ Perold: Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University
Prof WJS de Villiers: Rector & Vice-Chancellor, Department of Internal Medicine, Stellenbosch University (ASSAf member and CHAIR od ASSAf)
Prof DB Kell: The University of Liverpool and Stellenbosch University
Prof F de Beer: Kentucky University