Craif Inc. (former Icaria Inc.) (Headquarter: Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, President & CEO: Ryuichi Onose, “Craif”) is happy to announce that our joint research project with Nagoya University (Location: Nagoya-shi, Aichi, President: Seiichi Matsuo, “Nagoya University”) and Hokuto Social Medical Corporation (Headquarter: Obihiro-shi, Hokkaido, Chairperson of BoD: Hajime Kamada, “Hokuto”), which aims at “developing an analytical engine to map microRNA in the urine to enable early, high-accurate, non-invasive cancer diagnosis”, has been selected to receive R&D grant funding from Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (“AMED”), under the “Development of Medical Devices and Systems for Advanced Medical Services Program”*1. Our project will be funded by AMED for a maximum of 5 years.
From left to right: Ryuichi Onose(President and CEO),Takao Yasui,Ph.D.(Scientific Adviser&Co-Founder),
Mika Mizunuma,Ph.D.(Chief Operating Officer), and Yuki Ichikawa.Ph.D.,(Chief Technology Officer)
Our joint research project with Nagoya University and Hokuto to develop “a simple analytical engine to map microRNA in the urine to enable early, high-accurate, non-invasive cancer diagnosis” has been selected to receive R&D grant funding from AMED under their “Development of Medical Devices and Systems for Advanced Medical Services Program”*1. Our project will be funded by AMED for a maximum of 5 years.
Based on the Plan for Promotion of Medical Research and Development prescribed by the government of Japan, AMED promotes six integrated R&D projects in the medical field, which includes drug discovery, medical device development and healthcare, and regenerative and genomic medicine projects. AMED aims to fast-track medical R&D by conducting consistent R&D from the basic research stage to the implementation stage and produce results that would help provide better medical care to patients.
With AMED’s financial support, Craif will accelerate the development of urine-based, highly accurate early cancer detection method*2 and further work to address disease with high unmet medical needs, including brain tumor, with our technology.
*1: “Development of Medical Devices and Systems for Advanced Medical Services Program” for FY 2020, under the priority issue of “simplifying and speeding diagnosis/tests”
*2: The joint research with Nagoya University and Hokuto began in FY2019
■Comments from our Collaborators
Department of Neurosurgery Nagoya University, Graduate School of Medicine
Dr. Atsushi Natsume :
Brain tumors can cause a variety of symptoms including memory loss. Many people care about dementia and forgetfulness but pay little attention to the possibility of having a brain tumor, and rarely consider having an MRI brain scan. We call this “the unmet needs” — the unfulfilled needs due to people’s beliefs that it is unlikely to happen. We will be able to give proper treatment to our patients if we can simply conduct tests with a single drop of urine and diagnose brain tumors at an earlier stage. We believe that Craif’s groundbreaking technology can make this happen.
Genomics Unit, Keio Cancer Center, University School of Medicine, Non-tenured Assistant Professor / Hokuto Hospital Oncology Research Institute, Doctor
Dr. Yasutaka Kato :
Next generation sequencer has accelerated the development of genetic analysis technology and thanks to the rapidly progressing field of “cancer genomics”, a comprehensive study on oncogenes, the cancer patient outcomes have improved over the years. Nonetheless, treating highly malignant cancer is extremely difficult. The only way to cure cancer is to “find it at an earlier stage and give early treatment”, but implementing early cancer detection method is difficult since it needs to clear many hurdles including speed, cost, accuracy, and physical stress on patients. I am confident that Craif’s research and technology could overcome these restrictions and open up new avenues for cancer therapy.
■Craif’s Technology and the Value It Creates
As a startup incubated at Nagoya University, Craif is developing an innovative exosome biomarker discovery platform by capturing exosomes comprehensively from urine samples with microfabrication technology. Also, by leveraging AI analytics, the platform enables early detection of cancer, as well as, selecting tailored treatment for each individual patient from a single drop of urine.
Craif’s core technology is the unique zinc oxide nanowire-based exosome extraction device. Containing various biomolecules including proteins and nucleic acids, exosome is attracting worldwide attention for its potential as biomarkers for various diseases. Our device can not only efficiently extract exosomes, but also detect over 1,300 types of miRNA, which is deeply related to the development and progression of diseases. Combining AI analysis with this leading-edge technology enabled us to succeed in detecting cancer with a high degree of accuracy. Through the application of this technology, we aim to develop a more accurate cancer detection method using just a single drop of urine to facilitate early diagnosis and the selection of an appropriate treatment for each individual patient. We will continue to strive to ultimately realize a future where no one will lose their lives to cancer.