DANVILLE, Pa. – Cernostics, a life science firm that develops and commercializes advanced cancer diagnostic tests, has received a $55,000 investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The funding will be used to validate a diagnostic and prognostic test that predicts the risk of developing esophageal cancer in patients with Barrett’s Esophagus.


“We are very pleased to receive this additional investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, which will help the company complete initial development of our first molecular diagnostic test for esophageal cancer risk assessment,” said Mike Hoerres, chief executive officer of Cernostics and principal, Geisinger Ventures.


While rates for most cancers are declining, incidents of esophageal cancer in patients with Barrett’s Esophagus continue rise as part of the nation’s worsening obesity epidemic.


Cernostics’ cutting-edge test employs a “spatial systems biology approach” to anatomic pathology testing, in contrast with current pathology testing that is a largely manual and subjective process. Cernostics will continue further development of this molecular diagnostic test with biopsy specimens and clinical data from Geisinger Health System, which is part of a multi-year research and development collaboration started in 2010.


“Based on this collaborative work with Geisinger, we plan to further validate these findings at additional academic medical centers, and eventually commercialize this test via Cernostics’ clinical reference laboratory,” said Hoerres.
Cernostics is developing new molecular diagnostic tests for the fight against cancer because current diagnostic approaches offer a limited view of cancer, failing to evaluate the tumor as a system composed of multiple cell types, not merely tumor cells, added Hoerres.


In 2010, Cernostics, Inc. partnered with Geisinger Health System, recognized for its advanced use of the electronic health record, and the development and implementation of innovative care models. The system serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania.