The university receives a patent for pancreatic cancer diagnosis

2. 11. 2020

The method for diagnosing pancreatic cancer developed by the analytical chemist Michal Holčapek from the Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice has received a European patent. Holčapek’s scientific group has described a procedure for early cancer detection based on blood analysis. This is a chance for millions of people whose disease is discovered too late. As a result of this invention, Holčapek has been ranked among the 60 world’s best analytical chemists according to The Power List 2020 published in The Analytical Scientist.

“The purpose of the patent is to protect our methodology for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer by the lipidomic analysis of body fluids. At the same time, we believe it is a next step towards clinical use. The methodology is suitable for large-scale screening of up to 20 thousand samples per year with an accuracy of over 90 percent,” says Prof. Michal Holčapek from the Faculty of Chemical Technology.

The methodology patented by Prof. Holčapek is based on blood analysis which uses mass spectrometry for standard-based quantitative determination of at least 60 lipids.

Pancreatic cancer is a malignant neoplastic disease which has only a 10 percent chance of 5-year survival (according to the American Cancer Society). This is the least of all known types of cancers. Moreover, during the initial stages this type of cancer is without any symptoms. When diagnosed, it is usually too late for the patient. Early screening of pancreatic cancer is therefore extremely important.

The success of the chemists from the University of Pardubice was repeated by partners in Germany and Singapore. Recently, the scientific team led by Michal Holčapek has also confirmed the applicability of the methodology in clinical laboratories with no prior experience in lipid analysis.

“The next important step will be clinical validation, the purpose of which is to test the real benefit of early pancreatic cancer diagnosis prior to its application in practice. Without a strong partner, such study would be difficult. Therefore, in cooperation with the Centre for Technology and Knowledge Transfer we are currently discussing possible collaboration with a strategic partner to help us introduce the diagnosis in clinical practice,” added Prof. Michal Holčapek from the Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice.

In clinical practice the methodology would mostly be used in three groups of persons. An increased risk of pancreatic cancer affects newly diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes older than 50 years, persons with hereditary predispositions in the family and persons with the so-called non-specific symptoms that do not match a particular disease.

Video - Czech Television

Pardubice 26th October 2020

Mgr. Martina Macková,
Head of PR Department, University of Pardubice