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Lunch in the lab

The Lunch@Lab sessions are an excellent way at WCSJ2019 to learn about current scientific work in a very direct, personal setting. On Tuesday three conference participants, including myself, visited Lunaphore, a fast-growing company based at the EPFL Innovation Park. We toured their lab, met the team, and discussed their work as well as how we may be able to create content about it or collaborate.

Lunaphore researches and develops devices that perform diagnostic tissue tests, particularly the immunohistrochemistry of cancer samples. Their instruments use a small closed chamber with a high level of temperature and pressure control to stain the cancer cells within a sample. Staining is currently done either manually or in large routine diagnostic laboratories, which is slower but cheaper.

Lunaphore has developed methods that address particular gaps in this market where fast diagnostics of small amounts of samples is necessary. They are able to create stains in under twenty minutes, meaning for instance that a sample could be analysed while a patient is still in a biopsy surgery, giving information such as what particular type of cancer it is or if it is primary. “This can really help surgeons make decisions during a surgery,” says Irene Tamayo, the company’s marketing and communications manager. They are currently in the process of commercialisation and have run various pilot sites, focused particularly on European areas at this time.

Elna Schütz, Freelance audio journalist, South Africa

Opinions expressed in the blog posts are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of WCSJ2019

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