Researchers at the University of Sydney are collaborating with BCAL Diagnostics, an Australian biomedical company, to develop a diagnostic blood test for breast cancer.

Sydney Mass Spectrometry (SydneyMS), a Core Research Facility based in the Kolling Institute and the Charles Perkins Centre, has been working together with BCAL since 2017.

Leveraging advanced technology at SydneyMS, BCAL scientists have discovered novel lipid biomarkers for breast cancer by Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LCMS).

As part of the collaboration, several faculty members of Sydney Medical School and the School of Medical Sciences have been working with BCAL.

Sydney Medical School faculty of medicine and health associate dean Sarah Lewis said: “The advancement of commercialisation for blood screening for breast cancer is a vital step in our ability to develop a suite of screening tools for early detection.

“Industry and academia working together can accelerate translation and I am delighted that the Faculty of Medicine and Health is leading the way here.”

According to the University of Sydney statement, one in seven Australian women are at risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime, and early detection is important for survival.

The researchers at Sydney Medical School have been working together with BCAL Diagnostics to improve breast cancer diagnosis.

The collaboration will enable BCAL to move to a simplified, accredited examination that will facilitate the development of a new screening service and will be run in their newly opened lab.

Both parties aim to develop a blood test with 91% sensitivity and 80% specificity for early detection of breast cancer, with plans to commercialise the test by 2024.

BCAL partnered with the Sydney Knowledge Hub in 2020 and made its Initial Public Offering in 2021, which facilitated the expansion of the research program.

BCAL chief scientific officer Amani Batarseh said: “The partnership with the University of Sydney had impacted the project on many levels.

“From informal discussions with researchers like Dr Anthony Don on untargeted lipidomics to engagement with Dr Kim Alexander that could lead to new avenues of research on lipids and brain cancer.”