Zilico Ltd has been awarded £1m funding

31st March 2020

Zilico Ltd has been awarded £1m funding to drive EIS technology development for an oral cancer diagnostic device.

The funding will support the development of the company’s Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) technology for use on the oral epithelium in a unique device to improve the speed and accuracy of oral pre-cancer and cancer diagnosis. For clinicians, the ability to detect disease earlier means better outcomes for patients, and significant cost savings for healthcare providers.

Following Phase I funding awarded in March 2019, Zilico announced that they have been awarded Phase II funding as part of an initiative by SBRI Healthcare. It will help to identify innovations tackling healthcare problems in the area of dentistry, oral health and oral cancers.

The £1m award will enable the company to build on the successes of the Phase I work and further develop the oral device concept towards a functional prototype. This will be used within a pivotal multi-centre clinical trial where gathered data will support plans for the device to gain its regulatory approval. 

Darren Kell, Head of Research at Zilico said;

“We are very pleased that the funding call has identified the need for better diagnostics within the oral cancer pathway. Our initial proof-of-concept data, coupled with the success of our flagship product ZedScan, utilising our core EIS technology and currently used within the cervical cancer pathway demonstrates that we can successfully develop an EIS oral cancer diagnostic.’ 

Zilico is working with University of Sheffield’s Professor of Head and Neck Pathology, Keith D Hunter at the School of Clinical Dentistry, to further develop the technology and device. Professor Hunter said;

“Mouth cancer is on the increase in the UK and globally, and we need new tools to be able to diagnose it earlier. Electrical impedance spectroscopy will help to identify those patients with suspicious oral lesions whilst reducing the need for diagnostic biopsies where no disease is indicated.”

Visual indicators of disease can be misleading or non-apparent and so a non-visual method is needed. Using EIS it is possible to differentiate tissue types and detect dysplasia in real time, even when the cell changes cannot be detected optically.