Cesare Malagù, Sandro Gherardi, Alessio Giberti, Nicolò Landini, Andrea Gaiardo, Michele Astolfi
SCENT S.r.l. (SemiConductor-based Electronic Network for Tumors) is a company, founded on April 1, 2015, whose mission is to create screening tools to identify tumor and pathological formations, through the analysis of chemical variations in the gas emitted by biological samples (volatile tumor biomarkers).
The start-up is originated by the university research of the Sensors laboratory (SL) of the Department of Physics and Earth Sciences (University of Ferrara). Gas sensors that make-up the core of SCENT devices are entirely produced and assembled at LS and a continuous research on materials allows them to be adapted to various analysis types. Currently the start-up is the depository of two patents. The first device, SCENT A1, is a portable and easy-to-use instrument, dedicated to the preventive screening of colorectal cancer. This methods takes place through the analysis of fecal exhalations, which may contain volatile biomarkers of oncological interest, produced by mechanisms such as cellular peroxidation and metabolic alterations in tumor cells. Currently, for the diagnosis of colon-rectal tumors, technologies such as the fecal occult blood test (FOBT, FIT) are employed, which is accepted by the Italian National Health Service and performed every two years on subjects between 50 and 69 years of age. This tests show numerous false positives (over 60%), that leads to a high number of non-operational colonoscopies, subjecting healthy but often elderly patients to an unnecessary risk. In all the countries where the FOBT is adopted (e.g., Italy, France, USA), SCENT A1, if used as an accompaniment to the FOBT, will be able to reduce the number of false positives, with consequent reductions in the aforementioned invasive tests, cutting the costs of the National Health Services. In the case of countries where the FOBT is not adopted (e.g., Russia, Spain, China, Poland), SCENT A1 will be proposed, at the end of clinical validation, as a method of preventive diagnosis on the population at risk. A second device, SCENT B1, is instead capable of performing a minimally invasive post-operative tumor monitoring by analyzing exhalations produced by blood samples.
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