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Molecular classification of indeterminate thyroid nodules by microRNA profiling

Grant number: 15/07590-3
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: March 01, 2016 - April 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Human and Medical Genetics
Principal Investigator:Marcos Tadeu dos Santos
Grantee:Marcos Tadeu dos Santos
Host Company:Onkos Diagnósticos Moleculares Ltda. - ME
City: Ribeirão Preto
Associated researchers:André Lopes Carvalho ; Cristovam Scapulatempo Neto ; Ricardo Ribeiro Gama
Associated grant(s):17/16417-9 - Multicentric characterization and validation of a molecular diagnostic test for the classification of indeterminate thyroid nodules based on microRNA profiling, AP.PIPE


Thyroid nodules are common. By palpation can be found between 1 and 7% of the population. Brazilian and international guidelines recommend that nodes greater than 1 cm in patients with normal thyroid function, should be drained through Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA). About 65 to 80% of punctured nodes are considered benign and 5 to 15% malignant. However, between 15 and 30% are classified as indeterminate. These, by clinical for recommendations and risk of malignancy, are directed to surgical thyroidectomy and the postsurgical final histological analysis reclassifies 70 to 80 % of the cases as benign, showing the high rate of unnecessary surgeries. Several molecular techniques have been developed trying to help to solve this problem. Although clinically useful, none of the commercially available techniques present together highly sensitive and specificity, limiting its use and application. Using miRNAs expression data avaiable at ArrayExpress (EMBL-EBI) database, we develop a preliminar molecular classifier, in partnership with the swiss start up company SimplicityBio, which by a cross validation reach 90% of sensibility and 87% of specificity based on the analysis of only 4 miRNAs, in silico. The objective of this present study is to develop and validate a molecular classifier that, by analyzing molecular signatures generated by microRNA expression profile (microRNA profiling), is able to classify thyroid nodules classified by FNA as indeterminate into potentially benign or malignant, with high sensitivity and specificity. In this direction, we intend to analyze by RT-qPCR the expression of microRNAs selected in 160 benign and malignant thyroid samples classified as indeterminate by FNA. Half of the samples will be used for the identification and generation of specific molecular signatures of each class and the development of a molecular classifier. The other half of the samples will be used in a blind test which aims to validate the developed algorithm. The company, currently being set up, will be count with the partnership of the researchers and infrastructure of the Barretos Cancer Hospital. We intend to operate in a niche of the molecular diagnostics market hitherto unexplored in Brazil, establishing the Gene Expression Profiling technique as a technology platform, focused on personalized medicine for oncology area. Under the pillars of knowledge, open innovation and solution to the client, the company intends to differentiate from the competitors through a high-performance R&D. Since about 48,000 surgeries are performed unnecessarily each year in Brazil and generate an expense of R$ 135 million, the potential clinical impact in reducing this number of unnecessary surgeries and the economy that the health system can save and the more affordable price than competitors, once it is a national technology, are factors that contribute to the success of this product. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
La inteligencia artificial llega a la salud en Brasil 
Artificial intelligence in healthcare 
Inicio, caída, renovación, recomienzo 
Start, fall down, get up, start over 
Innovación en el diagnóstico del cáncer 
Cancer diagnosis innovation 
Articles published in Pesquisa para Inovação FAPESP about research grant:
Companies supported by PIPE-FAPESP are looking for possible partnerships in China 
Technology developed by Onkos with FAPESP?s support wins Octavio Frias de Oliveira Award 
Innovative thyroid nodule diagnostic test avoids unnecessary surgery 
Artificial intelligence at the service of cancer diagnosis 
Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
Articles published in other media outlets (0 total):
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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DOS SANTOS, MARCOS TADEU; BUZOLIN, ANA LIGIA; GAMA, RICARDO RIBEIRO; ALBINO DA SILVA, EDUARDO CAETANO; DUFLOTH, ROZANY MUCHA; ALVES FIGUEIREDO, DAVID LIVINGSTONE; CARVALHO, ANDRE LOPES. Molecular Classification of Thyroid Nodules with Indeterminate Cytology: Development and Validation of a Highly Sensitive and Specific New miRNA-Based Classifier Test Using Fine-Needle Aspiration Smear Slides. THYROID, v. 28, n. 12, . (15/07590-3)

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