More about Historam
In the field of oncology, one of the challenges is to improve the diagnostic flow in order to accelerate individualized therapeutic approach via a better understanding of the biomarkers involved in oncogenesis. Currently, histological examination of tissues/cells within a biopsy is the gold standard for analyses, however this process presents a number of drawbacks.
New analysis techniques emerge to overcome these limitations, such as immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in situ hybridization (FISH). However, if they bring high sensitivity and specificity, these methods are also considerably time-consuming and require expensive instrumentations and complex procedures. Furthermore, all these data relies on the presence of “phenotypes” that are detectable either by histological or cytological examination or by the expression of antigens. Historam will complete these analyses by providing molecular information that are due to subtle biochemical changes, possibly before the appearance of the detectable phenotypes.
Dr. Samy Andrea Strola has recently developed, in collaboration with CEA-LETI Grenoble, Albert Bonniot Institute (Inserm UGA U1209) and University Hospital Centre of Grenoble, an innovative, user-friendly and compact imaging device (patent filed) that allows a rapid quantitative analysis (30 min maximum) directly from a fresh/frozen surgical biopsy. The system is based on the Raman Spectroscopy principle and provides the digital staining of the biopsy sample via the quantification of a panel of specific biochemical metabolites involved in the oncogenesis process. We called this device HISTORAM, short for Histopathology via Raman Imaging.
For over 20 years Raman spectroscopy has not yet been incorporated in the clinical diagnosis flow despite satisfying in vivo and in vitro results. The technique however has a lot of advantages: it is non-destructive, does not require staining or treatment and can provide rapid qualitative (morphology) and quantitative (biochemistry) information. This makes it a very attractive method for a number of clinical applications, especially cancer diagnosis.
Historam is a step toward bringing of Raman Spectroscopy to the clinicians. Our device would bring all of the advantages listed above (non-destructive, marker-free, quantitative and qualitative analysis) and couple it with an automated treatment of the results. This would provide doctors a map of each sample with reliable, sensitive and specific information at the chemical level. As a reagent-free method, Historam analysis is fast, safe and cheaper than current techniques used to identify biochemical markers. Moreover, with the ability to detect and quantify the presence of several molecular attributes, Historam could provide histopathologists with a specific fingerprint of the resected tumor and help in decisions regarding the treatment and follow-up of the patients.
Our short term objective is to validate the medical proof-of-concept consolidating the promising results obtained in the preclinical phase for “head and neck” cancer on mice models. The long term objective is then to propose Historam as reliable instrument in the workflow of the pathologists and to introduce progressively a new robust reference methodology on the cancer diagnosis in real-time in order to improve the therapeutic strategy for a personalized treatment. In this context, the project is finalized to create a start-up that will commercialize Historam device.
Identify, Quantify, Characterize, Understand
Historam offers a compact, user-friendly and low-cost solution to take advantage of the Raman Spectroscopy technique: mainly the fact that it is a marker-free analysis that requires minimal sample preparation and provides molecular fingerprint via observed frequency modes.
The proposed approach allows a rapid analysis that can localize the cancer and quantify biochemical spectral markers involved in oncogenic processes, with an excellent specificity and sensitivity. Digital readout images generated by Historam technology show the distribution of metabolites classes, such as proteins, lipids, collagen, tryptophan, DNA, amides, carbohydrates, nucleic and fatty acids. Because diseases anomalies lead to chemical changes, Historam is used as sensitive tool to detect the alterations in the biochemical composition of tissues producing a diagnostic fingerprint.
In term of innovation, Historam gives the possibility to introduce Raman Spectroscopy technique in the clinical workflow as a complementary analysis tool for the analysis of cancer resection margins, locoregional metastases and microscopic tumor infiltrations.
MY VISION: RESEARCHER AND STARTUPPER
Samy Andrea Strola, PhD in Physics, project leader of Historam. I proposed and realized the technical solution and the first feasibility tests. In parallel, I am involved in the entrepreneurship road for the future start-up creation. I wish be the director of the scientific research and the technical development, in charge of the innovation strategy and the R&D. I wish coordinate the exchanges and collaboration with medical partners, enabling the company to create new marketing applications. Since I am at the origin of Historam project, I am strongly motivated in conducting the start-up creation.
As a Technology Innovation Manager, I will play a key role in the delivery of a challenging and multi-disciplinary programme, which seeks to accelerate innovation and reduce the time-to-clinical trials/market. I will work to identify, prioritize and support the development of opportunities that offer the most potential with commercial, clinical and other partners.
The possibility to lead a project from the early stage idea until the product commercialization, the chance to participate in the development of innovative medical device, the adrenaline for being immersed in this exciting adventure and the passion for the Science, are the main motivations to drive this rewarding challenge in a successful achievement.