Photo of Dr Walther Traberg

Biotechnology & medicine

Dr Walther Traberg

University of Cambridge & Novo Nordisk

Dr. Walther Traberg is working to drive change for patients with life-threatening illnesses by using bioelectronic technologies to develop a novel anti-cancer drug screening platform. His approach provides unparalleled insight into cancer disease progression and has enabled the facile identification of a drug candidate that could help prevent the disease’s spread in the body.

Dr Traberg’s platform uses electronic devices which monitor cancer progression in cellular models in real-time. He has found that nanoparticles, called exosomes, secreted by tumor cells aggressively drive metastasis in healthy breast tissue. However, treating the cells with the drug heparin abrogated these malignant effects and halted disease progression. The facile collection of temporal data provided insight into this process and enabled the identification of a novel drug candidate for breast cancer that targets tumor exosomes to block metastasis initiation.

The platform could enable clinicians to test cancer therapies on cells derived from patient biopsies and select the most effective. Insights drawn from AI and genomics then propose suitable candidate drugs which are tested on the patient’s cells ex vivo. Crucially, the continuous measurement output from the platform significantly reduces the number of screening studies needed thus enabling rapid and inexpensive screening of drug candidates to tailor cancer therapies to the individual.