Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse Blog

Hank Safferstein 06-05-2015

How Innovative Startups are Changing the Way Diseases are Diagnosed

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While the world of healthcare is one of constant change and innovation, the process of diagnosing diseases can still be difficult. The number of tests administered to any given patient and the wait time for those results can be frustrating. Each year billions of tests are administered, but leave much to be desired in terms of accuracy and patient satisfaction. There is still need for greater innovation.

Some of the most exciting diagnostic developments are coming from health startups. These small companies are able to focus on inefficiencies that may be overlooked in testing, diagnosis, monitoring, or treatment. Their efforts allow doctors to reach more accurate diagnoses and offer more effective treatments. The more this process can be improved, the better our patients’ outcomes.

Here are a few of the most important ways these startups are improving diagnostics.


A Personal Touch

Disease diagnoses tend to follow patterns based on the most successful treatments, but this approach can be ineffective for some patients. Advancements in medical screening technology and DNA sequencing have made it much easier to address this problem. Health startups like RedPath Integrated Pathology are poised to build on these developments to benefit patients and healthcare providers.

RedPath’s PathFinderTG tests address ambiguities in cancer diagnoses. PathFinderTG is a molecular test that reveals genetic markers and other factors that are missed by other tests. Based on patient DNA, this information helps doctors better determine whether or not a tumor is benign or malignant and recommend the most effective treatment.



Some diagnostic methods subject patients to a battery of tests or put analysts through hours upon hours of manual processing of these tests. And the results might not even lead to a patient-specific treatment. Why put patients and laboratories through so much in order to reach a general diagnosis and treatment? Cernostics is changing the game by simplifying the testing process.

Cernostics’ Tissue Cypher Technology whittles that battery of tests down to one. Much like RedPath, Cernostics uses a molecular-level biopsy to better assess the cancer risk of patients with Barrett’s esophagus━one simple test with personal results. They even want to expand testing to lung, breast, and colon cancers. And with $1.4 million in their Series B startup funding round, along with prestigious academic partnerships, Cernostics is poised to make a huge impact.



Sometimes the best way to innovate is to find a unique use for something seemingly mundane. Successful health tech startups, whether out of vision or necessity, have a knack for finding such uses. By using common technology in unexpected ways, even the most routine aspects of healthcare can be revolutionized.

For example, Intelomed’s CVInsight makes use of one of today’s most ubiquitous and fashionable technologies━bluetooth━to vastly improve patient monitoring. A single bluetooth sensor, worn on the patient’s forehead, gives healthcare providers real-time updates to physiologic changes. The sensors pick up the slightest unfavorable change, helping alert doctors to potential events and prevent them from ever happening.

Developments by startups like these are going to greatly improve healthcare. Ambiguities in diagnosis will be clarified, effective and appropriate treatments will be found faster, and life-threatening events will be avoided. All of this will drive down costs and boost patient satisfaction. RedPath Integrated Pathology, Cernostics, and Intelomed are all part of the incubator at the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, proud supporters of life science innovation.