KCBS_740 SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — A UC Davis graduate who survived breast cancer is developing a urine test that she says could detect it earlier.

In the first year of her Ph.D. program at UC Davis, Angela Courtney’s studies and life took a turn. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and became passionate about detecting it early.

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“We need to look at diagnosing and screening for breast cancer in a different way. Mammograms have saved a lot of lives but they have some challenges as well,” Courtney told KCBS.

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She started a company, Adrastia Biotech, to commercialize a urine test that scans for protein and genomic material that can indicate breast cancer.

Courtney doesn’t expect it will replace mammograms, but it could be considered a less expensive, lower risk supplement to x-ray that’s easier to administer.

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“It should be something that would be part of every woman’s … yearly physical. In remote areas, those samples can be mailed in securely so that we can run the testing,” she said.