Travera’s unique technology is based on a new invention and a new biological discovery about cancer cells.
The new invention is a micro-electromechanical (MEMS) device that can weigh individual cancer cells with exquisite accuracy. This device, invented at MIT and called the Suspended Microchannel Resonator (SMR), flows cancer cells through a tiny cantilever (a diving board containing a fluidics channel) and measures the change of the resonant frequency of the cantilever with a precision of one part in a billion. This precise frequency measurement enables us to calculate the weight of the cancer cells with sub-picogram accuracy.
In collaboration with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), we made the new biological discovery that cancer cells lose a tiny amount of weight when exposed to effective cancer drugs. This change occurs very quickly, within a few hours, and observing these quick changes was only possible with our SMR device. Without artificial support, most cancer cells die naturally within 1 to 2 days of being removed from the human body, so speed is critical to distinguish between natural cell death and cell death induced by a cancer drug. The exquisite sensitivity of the SMR enables us to detect a cancer cell’s response to a cancer drug while it is still a viable cell.
By measuring weight change rather than genomic biomarkers, Travera’s testing approach effectively incorporates all genomic and proteomic biomarkers, both known and unknown, as well as a myriad of other known and unknown factors including epigenetic, metagenetic, environmental, and other factors that affect a cancer cell’s response to a cancer drug.
Our Clinical Study
Travera is studying the use of its test in patients with relapsed refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM). We are working with leading cancer experts at prominent academic institutions to enroll study participants. This study collects bone marrow aspirate samples from patients prior to the start of a new treatment regimen for the purposes of prospectively measuring single-cell weight response as a biomarker of patient response to that regimen.