Early detection and treatment monitoring in low- to middle-income countries
March 15, 2023
Early detection and treatment monitoring in low- to middle-income countries

In June 2022, Inspire2Live and SeekIn signed a partnership with the purpose of enabling the implementation of SeekIn technology in as many countries as possible.

For those not familiar with SeekIn, the company was founded by Dr. Mao Mao and it has developed diagnostic products that can detect cancer based on a simple blood sample. There are many benefits to this technology; it is non-invasive, cancer-type agnostic and patients do not have to travel because the blood sample can be sent for analysis at another location. The products use a proprietary AI-algorithm which is fed data from analysing the blood for 7 protein tumour markers and, for most products, shallow whole genome sequencing. Although originally developed for early detection, the technology can also be used for treatment and recurrence monitoring.

Over the last few months, we have been discussing the products and their potential application with several doctors and organisations. Based on these discussions we have decided to focus on making early detection available in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), to address the fact that cancer is often detected at a very late stage in these countries due to high costs and restricted access to diagnostics. With the OncoSeek product we can offer early detection at a low cost and dramatically improve accessibility.   high-income countries there is an ongoing debate about the costs of adopting multi-cancer early detection, since access and/or late diagnosis are not perceived as a problem while there is concern for overtreatment (and most countries have at least one or more screening processes for specific cancer types). We have therefore concluded that we will focus initially on treatment monitoring, as there is a clear benefit and interest.

In the coming months we will be:

  • Working with government agencies to plan our first regional implementation project involving approximately 5 000 people to show the benefits of early detection (OncoSeek) in a lower middle-income country. We are collaborating with patient advocates from Tanzania (Franklin Mtei) and Kenya (Khama Rogo and Arthur Ajwang) to set this up.
  • Setting up and supporting treatment monitoring studies. Data collected so far in this field is very promising, yet for acceptance more data is needed. We are setting up a small retrospective study with a university hospital in the Netherlands for pancreatic cancer and, if the results are positive, the next step will be a prospective study. We expect to show that the effectiveness of a treatment can be determined earlier than using the current imaging-based techniques thus preventing patients from undergoing ineffective treatments whilst also saving time and money.
  • Validating our operational process in collaboration with Dimitar Georgiev in Bulgaria. Before making products available, we need to verify that our logistics management is effective; that labs are available to do the required analysis in time and that we are fully compliant with EU regulatory legislation etc.

Based on the successful outcome of the above initiatives, we expect to be able to secure investment funding to make SeekIn products available both in the EU and in low- and middle-income countries.

Eltjo Heddema
Patient Advocate Inspire2Live