Meet: Dr. Ahmed Bourghida, Chief Scientific Officer at RMDM

In the first of several posts, we are delighted to introduce various members of the RMDM team. This week, we talk to Dr. Ahmed Bourghida, Chief Scientific Officer at RMDM about his passion for medical research and his involvement in the development of PanTum Detect – the first universal blood test for early-stage cancer diagnosis. 


Hi Ahmed, can you tell us a little more about your background and how you came to join the RMDM team?

I originally come from Big Pharma as an R&D Scientist, and when I worked in Oncology I was never really exposed to Early Detection. So, when this project was on offer, I jumped right in! Early Detection is the way forward to beat cancer and I am truly thrilled to be part of this mission.


What is your role at RMDM and what does this entail?

My role is to raise awareness of Early Detection among the public and the medical community, while working on the successful distribution of PanTum Detect.


What drives your passion for making a difference to the science behind medical innovation?

The pursuit of excellence in saving lives and being involved in the highest level of scientific research; also learning every day from the best medical professionals!


PanTum Detect is the first blood test for the early detection of all cancers. How excited are you to be part of this development?

I am very honoured and excited to be part of a potentially world changing mission and for the good of humanity! As we know, early diagnosis of cancer saves lives and it’s our hope that PanTum Detect will become an integral part of this process and make a difference to people in the UK and around the world. 


What do you think makes liquid biopsy such an invaluable technique for early cancer diagnosis? 

For a long time, tissue biopsy has been the main technique used to confirm the presence of cancer cells. However, obtaining a sample of tissue for biopsy is invasive, time-consuming and can be painful and stressful for the patient. It also incurs considerable costs for the NHS or private clinics performing them. Liquid biopsy, which is a simple blood draw that can be performed in a primary care setting, is a far faster, less invasive and an overall more pleasant experience for patients. It’s cost effective for providers too. Best of all, liquid biopsies provide real-time information on the stage that the disease is at, making it easier for oncologists to recommend the appropriate treatment.   


We’ve seen reports that the NHS is facing a huge backlog of cases of missed cancer referrals. How do you feel that PanTum Detect could help?

Cancer services under the NHS have definitely suffered during the pandemic, and the pressure on them to catch up on missed diagnoses and delayed treatment is huge. We shared last week that Macmillan carried out research that stated it would take more than 20 months of working at pre-pandemic capacity to be able to catch up on missed cases. PanTum Detect could offer a faster, easier and less expensive option to help screen patients for the presence of early-stage cancer cells, which could help the NHS to cut through the backlog much more quickly, and without compromising on accuracy. 


How does PanTum Detect compare against other cancer liquid biopsy tests?

PanTum Detect far exceeds the abilities of other types of liquid biopsy for cancer. According to the latest publicly available data, PanTum Detect has more cancer types confirmed than any other liquid biopsy test either on the market or still in clinical development. We have 50, the next nearest variety of liquid biopsy only has 20. You can see a comprehensive comparison table included in our recently published whitepaper


The whitepaper is extremely comprehensive. How much research and development has gone into its production and what do you hope it will achieve?

The whitepaper is the result of more than three years of research and development, and we are extremely proud of everything that has gone into its creation. We want PanTum Detect to be the first point of information in any primary care setting within cancer detection. Cancer must be thought of differently to be tackled successfully. 


The effectiveness of PanTum Detect has already been proven in clinical trials. Do you have further trials planned?

We are very pleased with the results of previous trials and are always looking to partner with interested private or NHS clinics to demonstrate how effective PanTum Detect really is. If you’d like to find out more, you can use the contact form on our website.