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"Early is Good": Combining Multiomics and Nanotechnology to Save Lives


(image credit: Elias Schäferle, pixabay.com)


Cancer became deeply personal for Thakshila Liyanage at a young age. Having lost a grandmother to cancer while she was young, Thakshila wondered how different things might have been if her grandmother's cancer had been diagnosed earlier. Not many years later, she faced her own cancer scare—however, this time it was a false positive due to a higher-than-normal measurement of a singular cancer biomarker. 


In today's world, an early cancer diagnosis can be critical to saving a life; however, being overzealous in detection can lead to a false positive diagnosis which can have significant medical and personal repercussions. How do you thread the needle on early detection versus more false positives? A trio of siblings in Indianapolis, Thakshila Liyanage, Asel Ananda, and HL Ananda, believe the answer is in better, more sensitive, and more personalized diagnostics. As a result, they founded Early is Good with a mission to transform the landscape of cancer detection.


Their journey has led them to develop a nanotechnology-based diagnostic method specifically tailored for early cancer detection. The team recognized the limitations of existing molecular diagnostic tests, which often focus on single markers and lack comprehensive insights into complex diseases like cancer. Their solution? A multiomics approach that provides a holistic understanding of disease progression and guides personalized treatment decisions. By examining various molecular components such as proteins, DNA, RNA, and small molecules simultaneously, their platform offers unique accuracy and efficiency in detection.


The company's pipeline includes innovative projects such as urine-based BCDx test for non-invasive bladder cancer monitoring. Notably, they've secured a deal to develop a test for castration-resistant prostate cancer, a disease claiming thousands of lives annually.


Central to success for Early is Good is their assay technology, which leverages label-free nanoplasmonic sensing to achieve sensitivity levels comparable to PCR and with the ability to detect proteins and other markers like a classic ELISA. Unlike traditional PCR and ELISA, however, their approach captures and detects molecular markers without requiring amplification or complicated processing steps. 


Like any startup, Early is Good faces challenges for the future. Chief among them is navigating the complex landscape of healthcare reimbursement. Without proper reimbursement, even the most groundbreaking innovations risk stagnation. The siblings understand that securing reimbursement is crucial for the sustainability of their company and the widespread adoption of their technology.


Looking ahead, the vision of Early is Good extends far beyond business success. Their ultimate goal is to save lives by detecting cancer early when treatment options are most effective. With an estimated 600,000 deaths from metastatic cancer each year, the potential impact of their work is immense. By making early cancer detection routine, they hope to drastically reduce mortality rates and shift the narrative around cancer from one of fear to one of hope.


In the long run, Early is Good aims to transform cancer from a life-threatening disease to a manageable condition. With a survival rate exceeding 90% for early-stage cancers, their vision is a future where cancer is routinely caught and treated in its earliest stages. And while they hope to make an impact to hundreds of thousands of lives, Thakshila Liyanage's goal is much simpler. She just wants a grandchild somewhere in the world to be able to spend more time with her grandparent. 


For more information about Early is Good, visit their website at earlyisgood.com


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