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Early detection seems to be the most powerful ally in the battle against cancer. This is the main reason why, year after year, men and women, of a certain age dutifully visit their doctors and undergo a series of tests that often cause stress, in order to diagnose some form of cancer as early as possible.

However, there are dozens of other types of cancer for which there are no diagnostic tests, widely available. Younger people who do not belong to a high risk group are usually found to be more vulnerable as far as early detection of cancer is considered. No preventive tests are foreseen by the health system, although the consequences of cancer at a young age is known to be severe.

MirOculus team is led by the postdoctoral researcher of Molecular Biology at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), Foteini Christodoulou, who designed the prototype of a device called MIR.I.AM. This device can detect, within an hour and with a minimal cost, whether a person has got cancer, the subtype of the cancer as well as the stage of the disease.

A diagnostic test for 48 different types of cancer


At an early stage, cancer can be detected through a blood test which identifies the patterns of MicroRNA, those cells which circulate freely in our blood and regulate how our genes react. These cells become effected by environmental and other internal factors and their role is to instruct the RNA, which contains instructions on how to build proteins via DNA, about the time and the number of proteins that should be produced in a given time.

The fact that cancer is practically the product of the mutation and the uncontrolled reproduction of a gene in our body as well as the fact that mutant proteins are being detected in all tumor cells, turns MicroRNAs into promising bio-indications of possible cancer.

The development cost of the MIR.I.AM device created by MirOculus team is about $500, while the cost of equivalent equipment costs does not fall under the amount of $20.000. It is also important that it will be possible to record the results of the test through a smartphone camera and post the images to the ‘cloud’ to complete the analyses which allows for diagnosis.


MirOculus team led by the postdoctoral researcher of Molecular Biology, at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), Foteini Christodoulou, won the first prize and the amount of 25,ooo euros in the competition SFEE Innovation Project, in 2013, for designing the prototype of a device known as MIR.I.AM.

In the future, MIR.I.AM device, through a quick innovative blood test, will be detecting many different types of cancer based on the microRNA (small RNA sequences which can cause the genes to activate or deactivate).


Foteini Christodoulou, Postdoctoral Researcher of Molecular biology, Biomedical Research Foundation Academy of Athens (BRFAA).

Partners-ΜirOculus team: Alejandro Tocigl, CEO, Artemis Hatzigeorgiou, PhD Bioinformatics, Ferran Galindo, Operations, Jorge Soto, CTO, Juho Terrijarvi, Engineering, Katarina Cuk, PhD, Staff Scientist Ted Talk