Startups that are Changing Breast Cancer

The pink ribbon has been a spectacular success from a marketing perspective in terms of bringing recognition and funding to the breast cancer cause.

We're reached a saturation point of breast cancer awareness. The activists associated with the Think Before You Pink campaign have introduced the idea of "pinkwashing"--how corporations make money by selling products linked to an increased risk of breast cancer while profiting from "breast cancer awareness." It's time to move on to another goal.

Color Genomics

A genetic testing startup from Elad Gil, a former cancer researcher at MIT and Otman Laraki, a former engineer at Twitter and Google; their goal is to significantly lower the cost of breast cancer testing for all Americans. BRAC1 and BRAC2 are arguably the best-known human genes because their mutations are linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Genetic diagnostics are expensive and run thousands of dollars! Color Genomics offers BRCA mutation detection tests at a fraction of the price--$249 each.

Of the women with a mutation in BRAC genes, 80% will develop breast cancer by the age of 80. These screenings can lead to early detection of cancer, which results in 98% five-year survival rate.

Colors Genomics is currently available in 45 states and it on its way to comply with further regulations required in New York, Maryland, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Florida.

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Bioarray Therapeutics

Their product will use an individual's gene expression profile to assess a breast cancer's patient's likelihood to respond to each of several standard chemotherapy options. The goal is to help doctors and patients determine the best therapeutic course. Patients will be empowered to make more informed decisions and reduce ineffective chemotherapy, repeat surgeries, and radical surgery. 

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This company is developing diesgnostics for metastatic breast cancer, so physicians can determine whether surgery and local radiation will suffice in therapy--or whether more aggressive therapies are in order. 

Using an epigenetics approach, MetaStat is directly observing the behavior of metasttic cancer cells in tumors. They're focused on translating basic tumor biology into relevant and actional diagnostics as well as potential novel biomarkers for therapeutic agents.

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This is the stuff that will make a true difference.

Seeing Pink

So what's an interested citizen to do? Before you buy or donate, find out where the money is going. Each of the products below donate all or part of the proceeds to patients or doctors, directly. 

If you're female, you can also sign up for the Army of Women project. It's a list of women willing to participate in a variety of research studies to help researchers find out what causes breast cancer. They need women who have never been diagnosed and those who have.