Stomach Cancer - A Global Problem
In the next year, over a million people around the world will be diagnosed with stomach cancer.
Despite treatment, more than half will die less than two years later.
Gastric cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the world, killing approximately 768,000 people in 2020.
Late diagnosis, high mortality
Most stomach cancer cases are detected at late, hard-to-treat stages and despite treatment, only one third of patients survive past five years.
If we could diagnose stomach cancer earlier, we would have a better chance at successful treatment.
But what if we could prevent those cancers in the first place?
At Biotome, we are creating tests for the biggest cause of these cancers: the strains of Helicobacter pylori bacteria that produce carcinogenic CagA protein.
Infection with these strains of bacteria increases the risk of developing non-cardia gastric cancer by 6-12 times.
H. pylori is a widespread infection, but most cases are asymptomatic. Most doctors agree that there is limited value in treating these patients.
Our critical insight is to identify and treat only the CagA positive H. pylori infections that increase non-cardia gastric cancer risk.
Screening for Public Health
In a public health screening program that included our test in standard blood panels, doctors could cost-effectively diagnose these infections before dangerous pre-cancerous changes develop, without disrupting the standard of care.
Treatment of the infection is reliable, inexpensive, and readily available. Within five years after being successfully treated, a patient’s risk of developing stomach cancer returns to their normal level.
The economics are fairly simple. In Australia, the cost of a comprehensive screening program would be met by the reduction in gastric cancer treatments in ten years, with additional benefit rapidly accruing after that point.
In other countries, where Helicobacter pylori infection is more prevalent, the cost-benefit is significantly greater.