Nav: Home

New method to detect cancer cells faster, potentially improving outcomes

February 20, 2019

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The days - or even weeks - spent waiting for the results of a cancer-screening test can feel like an eternity. Especially when early diagnosis and quick action are tied to better outcomes.

Now, a new technique to analyze proteins expressed on cancer cells shows promise in more rapidly detecting these cell types.

"Pathogen or cancer cell identification often relies on culturing a sample, which can take several days," said Darci Trader, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology in Purdue University's College of Pharmacy, who led the research team. "We have recently developed a method to screen one-bead-one-compound libraries against biological targets such as proteins or antibodies."

Trader believes the Purdue screening method could be developed into a rapid, sensitive technique to identify cancer cells in patient blood samples. This could expedite cancer diagnosis and lead to better patient outcomes.

The novel screening technique is featured in the Jan. 24 edition of ACS Combinatorial Science.

"We are invested in this technology because of our passion to develop better screening techniques for a wide variety of diseases," Trader said. "Cancer, in particular, has touched the lives of many of our friends and families, so being able to contribute to better detection methods is very special to us."

Trader said the Purdue technique provides an alternative to current methods, which require very specialized equipment and complex analysis to measure the proteins binding small molecules. They also typically only detect if there is binding, but not the extent of that binding. These protein and binding measurements provide key information for diagnosing cancer and other illnesses.

Based on results obtained by screening known interactions between proteins and small molecules, the Purdue team believes their screening method will be sensitive enough to detect forms of cancer in very early stages.

The activity of the biological target being tested also does not need to be known or monitored with the Purdue technique, which increases the types of proteins that can be screened.

Development of this new test will involve mixing a biological sample, such as cancer cells or blood plasma, with a near-infrared range emitting fluorophore.

The protein is allowed to interact with small molecules and then doctors and scientists can measure the intensity of the light produced by the protein binding the small molecule. Certain intensity rates can indicate the presence of cancer cells or other pathogens in the body.

Their work aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration, celebrating the global advancements in health, longevity and quality of life as part of Purdue's 150th anniversary. Health, including disease screening, is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration's Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

Trader and her team have worked with the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization to patent their technologies.

Trader also works with the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research to advance her discoveries.
-end-
About Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University.

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, cladam@prf.org

Source: Darci Trader, dtrader@purdue.edu

Purdue University

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
New analytical technology to quantify anti-cancer drugs inside cancer cells
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Cancer expert says public health and prevention measures are key to defeating cancer
Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer?
UI Cancer Center, Governors State to address cancer disparities in south suburbs
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs.
Leading cancer research organizations to host international cancer immunotherapy conference
The Cancer Research Institute, the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, and the American Association for Cancer Research will join forces to sponsor the first International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, Sept.

Related Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".