Two doctors shaking hands

ME Professor Wins Minnesota Partnership Award

Children’s cancer, brain tumors, pancreatic cancer and a range of neurological conditions comprise the diseases targeted by this year’s research projects selected by the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics. Five separate competitive grants will help partnering researchers advance early studies in medical science impacting conditions that have state-wide impact. Each project is the collaborative effort of a University of Minnesota and a Mayo Clinic investigator and take an approach that could not be pursued by either institution independently. This is the 17th anniversary for the state-funded awards, which this year provide medical researchers a total $4.6 million.

“Development of a High Throughput Label-Free Platform Integrating Electronic Nanosensors and Holographic Imaging for Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection” Tianhong Cui, PhD, University of Minnesota and Martin Fernandez-Zapico, MD, Mayo Clinic

The American Cancer Society predicts more than a thousand new cases of pancreatic cancer in Minnesota this year and over 800 deaths from the disease. These two researchers are trying to change those figures by developing a means to detect pancreatic cancer much earlier, thus allowing physicians to start treatment much sooner. Cancer cells have different electrical and mechanical properties than healthy cells. The researchers hope to be able to detect electrical differences by using nanosensors and the physical or mechanical differences by using holographic images. The two combined technologies, if effective, could change diagnosis and drug screening for specific conditions.