RUBYnanomed ( was founded in 2018 as a spin-off of INL and aims to bring lab discoveries to the clinical market. RUBYnanomed focusses on the non-invasive monitoring of cancer progression. RUBYnanomed has developed a precise cancer snapshot tool, the RUBYchipTM, a microfluidic device for isolating all types of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from unprocessed whole blood. In this way, RUBYnanomed offers a non-invasive and real-time snapshot of cancer progression to oncologists.

In a first preliminary clinical test, we demonstrated the higher efficiency and sensitivity of our cartridge against the reference CellSearch® equipment in a pool of 9 metastatic colorectal and 15 breast cancer patients. Currently, RUBYnanomed is running pre-clinical trials for more than 200 patients (1500 samples) in 10 hospitals and 6 countries for 5 different types of cancer. In the short life of this startup, they won several prizes and recognitions in Portugal, Germany, Spain and the UK. Currently, mentorship is obtained through the Nanomedicine Translation Advisory Board program (nanomedTAB), funded by the EC through the ENATRANS project.

Dr Lorena Diéguez (F) (under 40 years old) (ORCID: 0000-0003-3695-6963) holds PhD from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia and the ETH Zürich. Her postdoctoral research at the University of South Australia (2010-2014) was devoted to the study of rare cells from biological samples using microfluidics. Lorena is the CEO and co-founder of RUBYnanomed since 2018, a spin-off from INL. Lorena Diéguez joined INL in 2014 as Staff Researcher and from May 2018 the leader of the Medical Devices group.

Her research is focused in the development of biomicrofluidic devices mainly devoted to Translational Medical Research in close collaboration with Hospitals. Lorena has won several international research projects throughout her career (PI of 7 projects), as well as some research awards and recognitions. She has > 50 contributions to conferences (above 15 invited), 23 peer-reviewed publications and 4 international patents filed.

She has been involved in lecturing, science outreach and innovation programs in the US, Portugal, Germany and the UK. She is first-time participant in a granted FET-H2020 project.

Infrastructure and facilities :

This spin-off company arising from INL is incubated in its premises and has access to its facilities, providing access to over 30 M€ worth of equipment.

These include state of the art cleanroom and characterisation facilities, as well as microfluidic, cell culture, molecular biology and engineering labs. All included in one of a kind innovation ecosystem focused in nanotechnology.

Related projects and publications :

PERSIST (2020-SC1-DHC-01-2019) 295,351.25 € – industrialisation of chip fabrication and preclinical trial with 80 breast and colorectal cancer patients; (2) RESOLVE – scale-up of chip and pre-clinical validation for 30 samples of cancer patients (35 000 €); (3) OncoDynamics Banking, internally funded by the Hospital de Santa María, Lisbon, to obtain the CTC profile of 120 cancer patients.


  • Patent PCT/EP2016/078406 – Entered national phase in Europe, US and China in June 2019.
  • Ribeiro-Samy, S.; Oliveira, M. I.; Pereira-Veiga, T.; Muinelo-Romay, L.; Carvalho, S.; Gaspar, J.; Freitas, P. P.; López-López, R.; Costa, C.; Diéguez, L. Fast and Efficient Microfluidic Cell Filter for Isolation of Circulating Tumor Cells from Unprocessed Whole Blood of Colorectal Cancer Patients. Sci. Rep. 2019, 9 (1), 8032.
  • Abalde-Cela, S.; Piairo, P.; Diéguez, L. The Significance of Circulating Tumour Cells in the Clinic. ActaCytol. 2019, 1–13.
  • Lima, L.; Neves, M.; Oliveira, M. I.; Dieguez, L.; et al. Sialyl-Tn Identifies Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer Basal and Luminal Subtypes Facing Decreased Survival, Being Expressed by Circulating Tumor Cells and Metastases. Urol. Oncol. Semin. Orig. Investig. 2017, 35 (12), 675.e1-675.e8.
  • Neves, M.; Azevedo, R.; Lima, L.; et al. Exploring Sialyl-Tn Expression in Microfluidic-Isolated Circulating Tumour Cells: A Novel Biomarker and an Analytical Tool for Precision Oncology Applications. N. Biotechnol. 2018.
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