Polish firm SDS Optic develops innovative diagnostics tool for HER2 breast cancer that provides results in less than one hour

Breast cancer is the number one cancer among women, with roughly 2 million cases diagnosed and more than 650 000 deaths each year.

Magdalena Staniszewska and Marcin Staniszewski have invented a potentially revolutionary device to detect an aggressive form of breast cancer known as called HER2 positive. And their work is backed by EU financing.

The couple’s inPROBE device detects the presence of various disease markers in the body without removing cells or tissue. The device uses a nano-sized fibre sensor contained in a very thin needle, which is inserted in the body near a tumour or potentially cancerous cells. The sensor determines whether cancer is present by measuring the level of HER2 proteins.

InProbe takes less than an hour for a diagnosis – and it’s accurate. That makes it a particularly effective tool in detecting the cancer and measuring the impact of new HER2 treatments.

“Cancer caught our attention because there was a great need,” says Staniszewska, chief science officer at SDS Optic, the company the couple formed to develop the device. Breast cancer has been rising globally, even among young women. “It was really frightening, and for me, obviously, it was close to my heart.”

The European Investment Bank, which is owned by the 27 EU member states, is providing SDS Optic with €10 million in venture debt financing, backed by an InvestEU guarantee. It’s just one of many investments in Poland by the European Union’s financing arm. Last year, we invested €5.10 billion in Poland, which is equal to almost 0.7% of the entire country’s gross domestic product.

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