// Perth-based medtech OncoRes Medical has been awarded $1 million funding as part of the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund BioMedTech Horizons program, operated by MTPConnect.
Kath Giles’ medtech company OncoRes Medical, which famously won the global Pitch@Palace competition 18 months ago, has been awarded a $1M federal government grant to help fund a second-generation intraoperative imaging device, designed to reduce repeat operations for women with breast cancer.
The funding comes from the third round of the competitive $45M BioMedTech Horizons (BMTH) grants program.
The program supports new medical technologies to reach proof-of-concept stage, or beyond, so they are attractive for private capital investment and commercialisation.
OncoRes Medical was one of 21 projects to be funded in this round.
Kath Giles said the funding is positive validation of the significant problem OncoRes is seeking to address.
Fighting breast cancer
“Among women, breast cancer remains the most common cancer, the second most common cause of death from cancer and a leading cause of premature death,” said Kath.
“In Australia alone, approximately 20,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. The majority of those women will elect to have breast conserving surgery over a mastectomy to excise the tumour and preserve the appearance and function of their breast.
“However, due to the limitations of technologies available to oncology surgeons today, the cancer will not be completely removed in many of those patients.
“The technology we are developing at OncoRes Medical aims to give surgeons a new level of precision and accuracy during breast conserving surgery, by facilitating real-time detection of residual tumour in the surgical cavity.
“This will enable the surgeon to remove all the cancer in the first operation and ultimately reduce the need for repeat operations. Thanks to this funding, we are now in a position to develop a second-generation device which will utilise digital photography coupled with a novel silicone material to encode tissue stiffness.”Dr Kath Giles
OncoRes Medical’s CWT uses technology that is cheaper, smaller and more accurate than other intra-operative imaging techniques available to surgeons today.
Once developed, it will facilitate the delineation of cancerous tissue from normal tissue in the surgical cavity and provide surgeons with the confidence that no residual tumour remains in the breast.
Avoiding repeat surgeries
Repeat breast conserving surgery operations carry a higher risk of complications including infection, bleeding and conversion to mastectomy (approximately 40%).
There are currently no tools available to help assess the surgical cavity at the microscale – a gap in current practice that will be addressed by OncoRes Medical’s technology.
“We are enormously grateful for the BMTH program for supporting us to realise the full potential of our research and development which will give breast cancer patients the opportunity they deserve to move beyond their initial surgical procedure with confidence,” said Kath.
Founded in late 2016, OncoRes has attracted A$7.5M of venture capital investment from the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), Australia’s leading life science investment fund.
Main Image: Kath Giles pitching OncoRes in 2018.