HealthTell Announces Receipt of an NIH/NCI Grant to Detect the Presence of Brain Cancer

 Immune-based brain cancer diagnostic for rapid, accurate disease classification.

NIH/NCI Grant to Detect the Presence of Brain Cancer

Image Source:  HealthTell


HealthTell™, an early stage Life Sciences company, today announced it has been awarded a $225,000 SBIR grant (1R43CA183360-01) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to evaluate the performance of the company’s proprietary Immunosignature™ Technology in accurately diagnosing brain cancer. This will include the specific diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and aggressive malignant brain tumor. The project, conducted in collaboration with the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University (ASU) and Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, is regarded as highly significant as it addresses an unmet need for early, accurate, and non- invasive diagnosis and monitoring of brain cancers.

Currently, the detection of brain cancer requires imaging-based technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), followed by invasive needle or surgical biopsies for accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, this method is very expensive, and not practical as an approach for brain cancer surveillance. HealthTell’s Immunosignature Technology has demonstrated the ability to measure a person’s immune response to brain cancer in an accurate and simple test. This test requires only a drop of blood from a patient. Once collected, the blood is placed onto proprietary peptide arrays where antibody binding patterns create specific disease signatures. The signatures offer highly accurate information about an individual’s state of health and have been used to detect more than 30 different infectious or chronic diseases.

“Applying the Immunosignature Technology to detect brain cancer has the potential to transform patient treatment and survival prognosis,” said Bill Colston, PhD, CEO of HealthTell. “ Today, the average lifespan of a patient pathologically diagnosed with malignant glioma is approximately one year. A simple test which monitors changes in a patient’s immune activity will provide clinicians with a needed tool which will enable more accurate disease classification, simple monitoring of treatment and possible determination of disease recurrence. The goal of HealthTell is in alignment with the triple aim healthcare initiatives: to improve patient outcomes, experience, and health economics.”

The grant includes the opportunity for HealthTell to demonstrate the Immunosignature technology’s ability to:

  • Detect brain cancer and distinguish it from other cancers. This distinction is important as the brain is often not the primary site of a brain tumor, but rather metastatic cancer from other sites such as the lung, breast, colon, or skin (melanoma). The American Brain Tumor Association estimates that up to 170,000 metastatic brain cancers are detected annually and this rate will increase as the population ages.
  • Differentiate brain cancer subtypes and identify grades of malignant gliomas, including the fatal GBMs. Subtyping and grading tumors is an important step in treatment. Some tumors, such as GBMs, do not respond well to radiation and can actually have adverse reactions, according to some research, whereas other gliomas respond well to radiation.

“HealthTell’s technology is very powerful and we are demonstrating that it can provide information from a small blood sample,” says Adrienne C. Scheck, PhD, brain tumor researcher at Barrow, and co-investigator on the project. “It is likely to play an important role in the way brain tumors will be diagnosed in the future.”

“Barrow Neurological Institute treats more brain tumor patients than any other place in the US, which will strongly facilitate us moving successfully into clinical validation and commercialization,” said Dr. Kathryn Sykes, PhD, VP of Research at HealthTell, and principal investigator of this grant. “The opportunity to demonstrate the power of HealthTell’s Immunosignature technology platform for application to brain cancer detection and monitoring will further validate its broad application to different diseases.”



About HealthTell

HealthTell is an early stage Life Sciences company that utilizes an Immunosignature™ Technology for accurate and timely detection and monitoring of more than 30 progressive diseases. Based on robust, proprietary technology, the company is developing the first and only diagnostic platform capable of assessing an individual’s immune system response to specific diseases. This disruptive technology enables physicians to detect the presence or absence of a disease in its earliest stage, improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare expenditures. Applicable to a broad range of therapeutic areas, HealthTell is empowering physicians and patients to proactively manage one’s health and make more informed decisions. For more information, please visit:


About Barrow

Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center is an internationally renowned medical center that offers care for people from throughout the world with brain and spine diseases, disorders and injuries. U.S. News & World Reportroutinely lists St. Joseph’s as one of the top 10 best hospitals in the nation for neurological and neurosurgical care.


Posted in AZBio News.