Through its revolutionary early-stage detection blood test, biotech company AOA will save half the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Oriana Papin-Zoghbi

Co-founder and CEO

Location / Year Founded / Industry:

New York, NY / 2020 / Women's Health

What is AOA:

The first liquid biopsy test that accurately enables early diagnosis of ovarian cancer through the analysis of tumor marker gangliosides.

Why it matters:

Dubbed the “silent killer” with a five-year survival rate due to late diagnosis, ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecological disease and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. Ninety-four percent of women experience symptoms starting from Stage 1, but 80 percent of cases are diagnosed too late (Stage III+). Not only are early-stage ovarian cancer symptoms continuously mistaken for benign conditions (including cysts, endometriosis, fibroids and other similar gynecological conditions), but due to a lack of accurate testing methods, it is incredibly difficult to diagnose the disease in the early stages.

Why you should care:

Current methods of ovarian cancer diagnosis fall into three categories: biomarkers, imaging, and clinical assessment. A clinician will typically conduct a clinical assessment followed by imaging, usually in the form of a transvaginal ultrasound. These assessments usually take nine months to complete and lack the ability to detect early cancer, thus typically diagnosing women already in late-stage disease. For many years, researchers have strived to develop a feasible and reliable way to detect early-stage ovarian cancer in women who do not have any symptoms. AOA’s early-stage liquid biopsy diagnostic test will improve clinical practice, reduce patient mortality, and—as the second most expensive cancer to treat, second only to brain cancer—deliver cost savings to payers