The initial cancer screening test NIGONIX uses the chemotaxis characteristic of nematodes
(C. elegans), i.e., attractive responses to an odor it likes and repulsive responses to an odor it does not like, as an indicator and is an entirely new and completely novel cancer test that.


Takaaki Hirotsu, a biologist and currently the CEO of Hirotsu Bio Science, has been engaged in nematode olfactory research and discovered that nematodes can detect the odor of cancer in human urine under certain conditions and highly precisely “sniff out” cancer.

“NIGONIX” stands for “nematode nose.”

The results shown in Figure 1 were obtained from basic studies of NIGONIX and show that with high probability nematodes are drawn to the urine of cancer patients but avoid that of healthy persons.


(Quote from T.Hirotsu et al.. PLOS ONE 2015)

• About 1 millimeter in length
• Transparent
• All cells of a live specimen can be

  observed under the microscope
• Hermafrodite that readily 

  generates genetically identical 

• Inexpencive to breen using

  coliform bacterium E. coli
• Has excellent sence of smell,

  having 1.5 times more olfactory 

  receptors than dogs

Use of nematodes achieves both
High precision and Low cost

The idea to use nematodes, live creatures, in cancer testing has its origin in the following: they have superior olfactory sensors that no man-made device can come close to, and they are inexpensive to breed.

Nematodes have a larger number of olfactory receptors than dogs and are able to detect minute odors that machines cannot be detect. Each nematode lays as many as 300 eggs and feeds on coliform bacterium E. coli, making it inexpensive to breed C. elegans populations. Most of the currently available cancer tests use artificial devices and kits. If we are to use these to detect faint cancer odor, such devices and kits would become very expensive and the cost of testing would dramatically increase.

In addition to high accuracy, cost is important in order to encourage many to take cancer testing—and it is nematodes that allows us to achieve such goal.


Nematodes made it possible to detect Stage 0 and 1 cancers

Currently available cancer diagnostic tests often do not detect incipient cancer and it has been thought very difficult to know the existence of cancer at an early stage. However, nematodes respond to the minute odor of cancer, which is undetectable with existing tests, and thus make it possible to predict risks.

In a basic study where the sensitivity of NIGONIX was compared to that of currently available tests, NIGONIX alone was able to detect Stage 0 and 1 cancer, maintaining its sensitivity throughout.

N.B. We will update from time to time as to the results of our clinical studies.


Nematodes identify the odor of cancer with great accuracy



Cancer is a major cause of death worldwide, and it is estimated that 9.6 million people died from cancer
in 2018.

People often die from cancer because it is too advanced to be treated when detected. However, cancers that are detected early are more likely to respond positively to medical treatment, resulting in low mortality rate. 

Screening is performed to identify people who may have a specific cancer and are in a precancerous state still without clinical manifestations.


Types of cancer that NIGONiX has been known to be able to detect

Nematodes are known to respond to the types of cancer shown below (as of August 2019):
Stomach, colorectal, lung, breast, pancreatic, liver, prostate, uterine, esophageal, gall bladder, bile duct, kidney, bladder, ovarian, oral/pharyngeal

— 15 types of cancer


Why early


Survival rates are higher when cancer is diagnosed at earlier stages. However, effective screening only exists for a few cancer types, and most cancer is detected at later stages, when survival rates are much lower.

Transform cancer care

through early detection

Our mission is to improve and save lives through early cancer detection, and we are developing our test in a rigorous way to deliver our test to patients safely and effectively.

Where hope

meets rigor

We’re unrelenting in the pursuit of our mission and will not stop until we find a better way.
With the best talent in biology,clinical science, bioinformatics, deep learning, and engineering, our goal is to greatly decrease global cancer mortality.


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