Diagnostic solution for non-invasive cancer progression monitoring and patient stratification


Metastasis is responsible for 90% of the annual 9.6 million cancer-related deaths worldwide. This is due to the fact that early cancer dissemination goes often undetected with existing technologies, as well as inability to regularly perform tissue biopsies to confirm cancer subtypes, and ineffectiveness of drugs effective in 75% of cases.

This project proposes a non-invasive patient monitoring using an innovative technology for liquid biopsy that automatically isolates and classifies cancer cells that are in circulation. These circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are responsible for the metastasis process, and their analysis will provide real-time information about cancer progression, enabling the prediction of disease aggressiveness and resistance to therapy.

This technology will not only facilitate more frequent patient monitoring and stratification and earlier and more precise diagnosis, it will also enable successful personalized medicine, and decrease an estimated 40% of the costs for the public healthcare system.


  • Between 2014 and 2016 the researchers developed their technology for CTC isolation.

  • In 2017 they received the first prize at StartupNano and received support from RESOLVE to achieve pre-clinical validation of the technology. 

  • In 2018 they established a spin-off RUBYnanomed and won AdMaCom first prize. 

  • In 2019 RUBYnanomed was recognised by the Royal Society of Chemistry as the winner of the Emerging Technologies Competition in the Health category. 

  • In 2020 RUBYnanomed started its participation in H2020 project PERSIST to cover the scale-up of RUBYchip™. 

  • INL together with RUBYnanomed have completed 3 pre-clinical validation studies.

Next Steps

The specific objectives of this project are:

1) To build the first automated prototype to streamline the sample processing and analysis (proving automation)

2) To achieve validation of the technology in a larger patient cohort (proving clinical utility)

3) To strengthen patent portfolio securing IPRs in the interface technologies between the chip and the hardware. 

Future steps beyond CaixaImpulse:

  • Perform clinical trials under regulatory conditions

  • Obtain CE-IVD certification

  • Product launch


Group Leader

Lorena Diéguez

INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory

Project leader

Staff Researcher

Sara Abalde

INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory

Research Fellow

Paulina Piairo

INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory


Enrique Sánchez


Senior Scientist

Liliana Pires



Scientific Area

Clinical sciences

Business area

Medical Devices

Research center

International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory