Y Combinator-backed biotech company Bikanta wants to find and stop cancer at its source by inserting tiny, fluorescent diamonds inside your body. The brainchild of Dr. Ambika Bumb, who holds a PhD in biomedical engineering from Georgia Tech, these nanodiamonds can detect molecular abnormalities at a much earlier stage, essentially stopping cancer from spreading any further.
Bumb was working on her first post-doctoral fellowship with the National Institute of Health (NIH) at Oxford University when she became dissatisfied with current limitations for cancer screening. Current methods are unable to detect small tumors or breakaway tumor cells that lead to something called micrometastatic tumors, which can go undetected at the source and lead to the spread of cancer throughout other areas of the body. Bumb also points out the technical limitations involving signal loss, high background interference and unacceptable toxicity that have sidelined research endeavors. Quantum dots, Quantum dots (one of the two other fluorescence/optical imaging agents) are made of CdSe/Cds/ZnS core materials that are toxic, for example.