Epic Sciences Platform
If you can’t see the problem, you can’t solve it.
Metastatic cancer is a cagey adversary, a shape- and form-changing disease that can be understood only by following its dynamics at a cellular level. Because most tests are based upon fixed assumptions of what cancer looks like, however, they come up short. For that reason, Epic Sciences chose a research road less traveled, a bias-free approach that looks at all cells in a non-invasive blood sample, and thus sees those rare cells that others miss.
That insight lead to a technology platform with an extraordinary ability to see, identify and characterize all the circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in a sample, and link their response or resistance to a panoply of drug classes. So that doctors can better understand their patient’s cancer and choose with the greatest possible certainty the drug or combination of therapies that will work best.
Personal, predictive and precise.
One proof of that approach is Epic’s AR-V7 CTC test, a test so sensitive and precise that it is predictive — it is, in fact, the world’s first predictive test for prostate cancer. Yet it’s just the first of many predictive tests to come from Epic’s rare-cell detection platform, which took a small army of canny scientists to create; including biologists, chemists, clinical researchers, data crunchers, imaging and software engineers and pattern- recognition specialists.
A few stats will suggest the prowess of Epic’s rare-cell detection engine. It is so sensitive that it can detect one cancer cell in the midst of 50 million normal ones. For every 10,000 patients tested, we may analyze 180 billion unique cells — and know what each is, thanks to proprietary machine learning algorithms which are trained on multi-dimensional morphologic and protein parameters. All these samples to be stored, with biomarkers, for future study in what may be the world’s largest biobank of cellular objects. (By the way, Epic is the only company in the blood-based testing sphere that also preserves all the white blood cells in a sample so that, as we track the evolution of cancer cells, we can also simultaneously understand what the immune system is doing in real-time.)
It’s a lot to get your arms around.
Yet despite this mountain of data, we never lose sight of the doctors who need certainty to make wise decisions and the patients whose lives depend it. So we push on, following the data wherever it leads.
Single Cell Pheno-Genomics
Essential to detecting and understanding cancer heterogeneity, Epic’s platform analyzes all nucleated cells within a blood sample at single cell resolution.
No cell left behind.
For centuries scientists have studied the cell to understand biological function and disease progression. Today, Epic Science’s revolutionary platform takes these basic studies one step further — enabling the identification and analysis of rare disease cells and cell patterns from a single, common blood draw. It’s a ground-breaking digital pathology technology that acquires high-definition images of every cancer cell found in a blood sample, making characterization at single-cell resolution possible.
Epic Sciences analyzes all nucleated cells in the blood sample. We do not sort or discard any nucleated cells. This non-biased approach ensures that no CTCs are left behind.
Samples are shipped to our lab within 48 hours of the blood draw. When the samples are received, nucleated cells are dispensed as a monolayer on Epic Sciences’ proprietary glass microscope slides. Typically, a single sample creates ~10 replicate slides. Each slide holds approximately three million nucleated cells, the equivalent of about 0.5mL of blood. Slides are then frozen and stored in the Epic Sciences biobank for future studies or may be tested directly.
Next, the slides are thawed and stained (typically 2-4 slides are used per assay) using a cocktail of Cytokeratin (CK), CD45, DAPI and one or two characterization antibodies, such as a protein drug target. The slides are then scanned by fluorescent microscopy.
Our digital pathology software analyzes the image files for a multitude of immunofluorescent and morphological features on all three million cells of each slide. The hematopathology-trained algorithm incorporates numerous morphology measurements as well as expression from cytokeratin and CD45 to identify CTCs which are confirmed by a trained reader.
To gain deeper insight into individual cells, we often perform single cell genomic analysis. The coverslip is removed, and either FISH or NGS is performed on selected cells. FISH probes can be added to the slides or cells of interest and are individually recovered from the slide and transferred to a single well of a PCR plate to characterize genomic alterations.
This is a blood sample
from a cancer patient.
It contains roughly 30 million cells.
Of those, about 5 are cancer cells on their way
to form tumors elsewhere in the body.
This is one of those
Modern cancer diagnostics
technology can't see it.
But we can.
We're Epic Sciences, and we'reFind out how.
making sure no cell gets left behind.
The Epic Sciences platform: Like no other.
A revolutionary digital pathology technology that acquires high-def images of each cancer cell found in a sample, providing characterization at single cell resolution.