The $500,000 Keck Fund research award was given earlier this year to bioengineering professors Kumar and Murthy for their project, Single Tumor Cell Proteomics for Diagnosis and Prognosis.
These researchers aim to improve clinician’s abilities to treat patients inflicted with glioblastoma multiforme, an incurable brain tumor, by increasing the quality and accessibility of proteomic data that can be collected from a patient’s tumor. This will make it easier to predict the disease course and select appropriate therapies.
The project focuses on the development of an improved enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) platform. ELISA platforms are diagnostic tools which utilize antibodies and color change to identify specific molecular markers, such as those that predict key clinical features of tumors. The bioengineering team at UC Berkeley is developing an ELISA platform that will allow researchers to routinely perform single-cell proteomic experiments to identify these proteomic features. Currently scientists in standard laboratories cannot easily and accurately perform these sensitive tests; the new ELISA platform will make it possible to measure single cell protein levels and identify specific markers with traditional plate readers. This will allow more clinicians to diagnose brain tumors.
In addition to the increased diagnostic accessibility this technology will bring, it will also increase the quality of the proteomic data produced. The bioengineering team plans to use microfluidics and a new family of nanoparticle-based ELISA detection substrates, a combination that is expected to increase the assay sensitivity by 3-4 orders of magnitude.
UC Berkeley is an institution rich with cutting edge research programs and technology development such as this. In addition to this research award, UC Berkeley research teams receive substantial NIH funding; in 2013 UC Berkeley received over $119 million in NIH grants.
Laboratory supply companies can have the opportunity to visit this well-funded marketplace and meet face-to-face with active UC Berkeley researchers at the 17th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ on June 4, 2014. This event is expected to attract 150 active life science researchers, including lab managers and purchasing agents from multiple on-campus departments and research buildings.
(Photo from the 2013 BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at UC Berkeley)
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