Balaji Panchapakesan receives NIH grant
National Institutes of Health project will develop improved techniques for detecting and profiling circulating breast cancer cells
On August 9, 2011, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it had accepted a research proposal from Dr. Balaji Panchapakesan titled, "Nanotube Antibody Arrays for Profiling Circulating Diseased Cells." The funding period for this major grant is 08/09/2011 through 07/31/2014, and the funding total is $422,722.
Dr. Panchapakesan's project focuses on the development of sensitive quantitative technologies for molecular characterization of scant cells in easily accessible bodily sources such as fine needle aspirates, biopsies, whole blood, saliva and urine, with an ultimate goal of detecting the presence of cancer cells. Such technologies have the potential to significantly impact the life sciences and clinical practice. Current laboratory procedures used for cancer biomarker testing require collection of the body fluids and aspirates, followed by transfer of those materials to a laboratory for testing. Turn-around times in the range of a day to several days are typical. This delay can lead to phenotypic/apoptotic changes of sampled cells. Dr. Panchapakesan's research will develop nanotube-antibody biosensor arrays for the rapid (within minutes) profiling of circulating tumor cells in blood. Using the sensor arrays, a practical device will be developed for detecting and profiling circulating breast cancer cells. The new technologies will be evaluated relative to standard immunoassays such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
A detailed summary for the project is available on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services web site (link opens a new window).
Dr. Panchapakesan ("Baloo" to his colleagues), an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and NSF CAREER Award recipient, founded and directs Speed School’s Small Systems Laboratory located in room 221 of the Shumaker Research Building.