Medical Science, Pathology
Groundbreaking Diagnostic Approach to Ocular Cancer
With a background in biology, and while pursuing her Ph.D. in Pathology at McGill University, Prisca joined the QcSE program in order to gain business insights and explore a new domain complementary to her background in research. Little did she know that by the end of the program, turning her research into an entrepreneurial venture became her main focus.
In an effort to accelerate the diagnosis of ocular cancer without an intrusive surgical procedure, Prisca successfully developed a non-invasive method to identify small DNA fragments in the blood. This detection indicates the presence of an eye tumor at its earliest stage, saving the lives of patients who otherwise do not get diagnosed until the tumor is already in its latent phase.
Prisca joined QcSE during the Spring 2021 cohort. During the course of her research studies, she has never considered entrepreneurship. “It was in the middle of the program, specifically during ‘Market Discovery’, that I realized the added value of my research and the vast need of this solution in the bio-medical world”.
QcSE pushed her outside her comfort zone which was previously restricted to the lab and enabled her to gain confidence in different areas which were foreign to her before the program such as public speaking and pitching. As uncomfortable as they seemed at the time, they were the skills that enabled her to grow more in the direction of being a scientific entrepreneur.
Within the program, she greatly valued the interaction with other researchers with similar backgrounds as hers also interested in developing their entrepreneurial skills. This interaction gave her insights on how to develop her own technology through the experiences of others. She describes QcSE as a community that offered support and nurtured her research into a viable market product.
Prisca is still developing her research to release her technology for the test to be widely used across hospitals and clinics. She recently earned the prestigious Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation.
Her advice to aspiring scientific entrepreneurs: ‘It is never too early and never too late. Take the leap to entrepreneurship or just acquire this knowledge. It will be a great added value to your career as a researcher’