Posted on Oct 02, 2022

It’s October, which means it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Forgive us, but here at Cerca Biotech, we don’t just want to raise awareness of this disease.

We don’t need to tell you that too many people are already painfully aware of what breast cancer is. And how it can dramatically impact lives.

We know that oncologists, pathologists and all the other dedicated clinicians and scientists, want to go one step further than awareness raising: ensuring that people with breast cancer receive the best possible treatment and care.

This journey starts with accurate diagnosis: and that is where MammaTyper® comes in.

Identifying types of breast cancer

What do we mean by accurate diagnosis? As you know, we live in a world where breast cancer can no longer be considered as one single disease, treated with a generic approach. Optimal systemic therapy can only be selected once the biological subtype of breast cancer is understood.

Careful identification and accurate separation of different subtypes is the key to a tailored and effective treatment strategy. MammaTyper® is turning this approach into a reality, and that’s why the medical profession is sitting up and getting involved.

Combating metastatic breast cancer

It’s vital that as practitioners you’re given the tools that allow you to distinguish between luminal A, luminal B, HER-2 positive and triple negative breast cancer sub-types. MammaTyper® does just that: it is a standardised test that enables pathologists to subtype breast cancer appropriately and accurately. Quantitative determination of the mRNA expression of HER-2 in combination with three other marker results helps to predict patient risk of distant metastases.  

This leads on to correctly targeted endocrine or chemotherapy-based approaches, a smoother clinical pathway and the highest chance of treatment success. MammaTyper® can help save on the cost, and stress, of chemotherapy, by accurately signposting tumour-specific treatment requirements. As well as empowering patients with accurate knowledge of their potential disease course and prognosis.

Bringing histopathology into the 21 st century

It’s long been known that traditional immunohistochemistry (IHC) testing can be improved: human factors such as variation in intra-observer and inter-observer interpretation and other methodological issues such as non-standardized local practices means there are inherent inaccuracies.  Yet there has been no significant medical advancement in this area for over fifty years.

Now, MammaTyper® removes this human subjectivity and many of the inconsistencies in the current method of testing. Its reproducibility means greater accuracy in the pathology lab, especially for Ki-67 - critical in luminal subtyping and prognosis.

Part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is acknowledging the on-the-ground realities of tackling this disease. There are barriers along the patient pathway, and we want to help break them down. Workforce pressures include:  a shortage of pathologists in the UK and other parts of Europe, coupled with testing backlogs, slowing time to diagnosis and treatment.  MammaTyper® speeds up the diagnostic process, as results are ready within hours, potentially freeing up consultant histopathologist’s time for other vital work.

Utilising existing PCR technology

Why is now the right time to press for progress in breast cancer diagnostics? Because  MammaTyper® makes use of a technology that has already proved popular and effective in other areas of medicine over the past twenty years, and more recently for Covid testing, the rapid-PCR test.

PCR’s rapid and accurate return of results facilitated rapid mass testing during the pandemic, and brought this technology into the public consciousness. Mammatyper® builds on current pathological procedures and makes use of existing equipment by utilising industry-standard RT-qPCR machines. Testing is done on routine clinical samples such as FFPE material, so further staff training is not required.

Eliminating the breast cancer treatment delay

Treatment delay is not only related to increased stress for patients but there is evidence to show links with increased recurrence and poor outcomes. Using tests that provide a high degree of accuracy first time round, helps optimise and speed up treatment, by avoiding the need for second opinions and further testing.

The World Health Organisation emphasize that timely diagnosis and comprehensive management are vital parts of achieving the objective of reduced breast cancer related deaths. To achieve this, practitioners must make a commitment to a clinical practice that keeps pace with scientific progress.

We know you want to do the best for your patients, and at Cerca Biotech we want to help you achieve that. We’re committed to the fight against breast cancer, and innovation that will future-proof oncology diagnostic pathways.