Improving the surgical staging of complex cancers

Ferronova is a cancer diagnostics company, developing tracer systems for improved lymph node identification. The cancer diagnostic device, an ultra-sensitive magnetometer probe which enables accurate identification of sentinel lymph nodes for biopsy, evolved from the doctoral work of UniSA researcher Dr Aidan Cousins. Dr Cousins now oversees the development of the technology for Ferronova.

The system, consisting of a magnetic probe and injectable magnetic tracers, will allow head and neck cancer surgeons the ability to stage cancer less invasively, more quickly and with greater accuracy, improving patient outcomes and reducing health system costs.

UniSA Ventures worked with the inventors to develop a research partnership between the University of South Australia and researchers at Victoria University, Wellington who were developing iron-core magnetic particles. Together they produced an advanced diagnostic system to improve the detection of cancer meastases.

Ferronova was founded in 2016 with backing from New Zealand-based investment group PowerHouse Ventures, UniSA Ventures and Victoria Link. The company has since received a 705K grant from the South Australian Government.