Quanterix, a diagnostics company focused on developing and commercialising high sensitivity tests, has said that its technology is shown to be more than 1,000 times more sensitive than standard methods with potential for broad application to measure biomarkers in prostrate cancer, autoimmune and neurological diseases.

According to Quanterix, researchers have developed a simple blood test using its Single Molecule Array (SiMoA) technology to selectively capture and measure individual Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) molecules in prostate cancer patients.

According to a study SiMoA was 1,700 times more sensitive than standard hospital tests, potentially allowing for detection of prostate cancer recurrence years earlier than current tests.

To demonstrate the clinical potential of SiMoA, PSA was measured in serum from men who had undergone radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. For the majority of the patients PSA is initially reported as undetectable following surgery, but may be present at very low levels that predict the likelihood of disease recurrence.

Quanterix said that the Quanterix test was so sensitive that it was able to measure residual PSA levels in all samples tested. The PSA levels had been reported to be undetectable in these samples by standard tests, highlighting the sensitivity and precision of the SiMoA technology.

David Duffy, senior director of Platform Research at Quanterix and corresponding author of the study, said: “This paper demonstrates the extraordinary sensitivity provided by our SiMoA platform. Its single molecule resolution has allowed us to measure PSA at extremely low levels, rather than having to wait until the cancer is more advanced.

“By using Quanterix’s high density arrays, we were able to hone in on individual molecules rather than looking at the average response of thousands of molecules. SiMoA provides the resolution for the proteome that the Hubble telescope did for the cosmos.”

David Okrongly, president and CEO of Quanterix, said: “Quanterix has demonstrated conclusively that SiMoA can be applied to measuring any protein of interest with unprecedented sensitivity. Our goal is to utilize these data and other studies to launch our first diagnostic tests through the Quanterix Clinical Laboratory by 2011 and continue to advance the technology towards implementation across the full spectrum of immunodiagnostics.”