4-D Ultrasound: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer related death in the United States. A little over 28,000 newly diagnosed cases per year are reported with an annual mortality rate of approximately 28,000. Pancreatic cancer is commonly diagnosed late in its natural history and as a result, the 5-year survival rate is less than 4%. Most (about 80% of newly diagnosed cases) pancreatic cancer patient presents with advanced disease, which is inoperable and unfortunately chemotherapy and radiation therapy are usually ineffective for patients with inoperable disease.
Hence, early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is key to survival. Available diagnostic imaging techniques are not suited for the early diagnosis of the disease. We hypothesize that the development of a minimally invasive biomolecular sensor would be an important breakthrough for the early detection of pancreatic cancer in order to make an impact for the survival of patients with this deadly disease. This is also joint with Karmanos Cancer Institute. A prototype of this device has been completed, and it is ready for commercialization.
Handheld and Laparoscopic Cancer Detectors: Real-time diagnosis during surgery with the ability to differentiate malignant tissue and margin detection will have a profound effect on the treatment of cancer. For many malignant tumors, surgery is the best option for cure, especially if the cancer is localized. Conventional histopathology cannot provide immediate feedback—it takes from 30 minutes for preliminary results to a week for final assessment. MEP partners have demonstrated that Raman spectroscopy–a non-contact, non-destructive technique–has the ability to accurately detect changes in the chemical composition and/or molecular structure between healthy and diseased tissue. We have performed considerable preliminary work indicating the efficacy of this technique for real-time diagnosis, and have designed an ultra high resolution, highly efficient microspectrometer specifically for multispectral Raman. As well, we have adapted a new mass-producible nanomanufacturing technique to fabricate the key components.
This system may be ideal for real-time assessment of margins of malignancies during initial surgery, thus decreasing the rate of repeat surgical procedures. The system has been validated. Funding is needed for miniaturization of the system in general, and in particular for development of a handled device specifically to detect melanoma.
Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):
Compact, Ruggedized Ultrasound for Rapidly Detecting Traumatic Brain Injury: There is an urgent need for a compact, portable and easy to use tool for rapid diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI accounts for a very many sports injuries, vehicle accident injuries, and combat-related injury. “Closed brain” injury resulting from the concussive effect of sudden air pressure changes is often invisible to the eye, and often detected only after cognitive ability, physical functionality, and/or emotional and personality are noticeably impaired. Secondary damage through endogenous biochemical processes can result in tissue injury and cell death.
These processes may last hours or days before clinical signs and symptoms develop. Therefore, it is vital to detect TBI quickly to prevent long term damage or even death.
MEP intends to develop and demonstrate a 3D ultrasound-based technology that detects fast-onset changes in intracranial pressure resulting from concussive forces associated with traumatic brain injuries.
Biomarkers by Raman: Our objective is to develop a new method to quickly and accurately detect the presence of staphylococcus aureus, as well as its antibiotic susceptibility. We applied Raman spectroscopy to obtain 120 spectra from four different strains of s. aureus—two sensitive to methicillin (MSSA), one resistant to methicillin (MRSA), and one strain of MRSA with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin (RVS-MRSA).
The results were applied to Raman spectral analysis of new specimens. Our system correctly classified specimens as MRSA vs. MSSA with 90.2% accuracy (sensitivity 96%, specificity 85%). RVS-MRSA was correctly classified with 96.3% accuracy when compared against MRSA (sensitivity 100% and specificity 93%), and 96.5% accuracy when compared with MSSA (sensitivity 100%, specificity 94.8%). Xxx Raman Spectroscopy is a quick and reliable method of identifying MSSA and MRSA in a sample. Furthermore, it can quickly determine the level of antibiotic resistance of MRSA to help guide antibiotic treatment plans.
This method can have broad applicability for fast and easy detection and treatment of bacterial infections in the hospital, outpatient, and office settings.
Home Health Monitoring:
Bioreactor (TRL 5-6): A device composed of multilayer fractal scaffolding with integrated microfluidics and micro optical sensing. The goal is to grow three dimensional organ structures for investigation of cancer growth and treatment, development of customized therapy based on an individual’s tumor cells, and as a sensor for detecting mutagenic and carcinogenic properties of food additives and chemicals. In essence it is a three dimensional human organ-like avatar for replacement of animals for medical research. Work remains in progress on this device.
Drug Delivery Devices:
Biologics (ovarian, pancreatic cancers) (TRL 6):