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University of Bath spinout launched to improve lung cancer treatment



Image: University of Bath

Prothea Technologies, a spin-out company from the Universities of Bath and Edinburgh, has launched with a mission to improve lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The firm, which has attracted €12m in funding, seeks to develop a medical device to diagnose lung cancer lesions using a combined endoscope and image-processing system capable of examining the molecular structure of lung lesions.

The team also aims to develop a laser-ablation catheter which, if successful, could treat lesions after diagnosis, reduce time-to-treatment, relieve hospital pressures and improve patient outcomes.

Dr Jim Stone from the department of physics at Bath and Prothea chief technical officer, said: “Establishing Prothea Technologies is essential to bring our unique fibre optic technology into clinic so it can benefit patients.

“Prothea pulls together world-leading fibre-optic development from the University of Bath and clinical excellence from the University of Edinburgh, adding in commercial, insight, expertise and know-how to form a fantastic team.”

Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and is the world’s deadliest form of cancer, responsible for more than two-million deaths per year.

With its planned devices, Prothea aims to tackle two challenges in the management of the disease: inaccurate biopsies and limited treatment options for small lesions in the lungs.

The funding raised is hoped to finance the company’s first-in-human clinical trials for the imaging and biopsy device, and move towards beginning trials for the laser ablation catheter.

“Molecular-level data capture, combined with immediate therapy, holds huge potential in basic science and patient therapy,” said Prothea chief medical officer, Dr Kev Dhaliwal, professor of molecular imaging and healthcare technology and consultant in respiratory medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

“I’m grateful to the funders who have backed us over the years.”

Crispin Simon, Prothea chief executive officer and executive chair, added: “We are delighted to have been able to combine a great team, multiple technology innovations and a strong investment syndicate, and look forward to putting our products at the service of doctors and their patients.”

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