University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


UH Researchers Nab New NIH Grant to Construct, Test Cancer Tool


Erin D. McKenzie

A team of University of Houston researchers is among a select few to be awarded a competitive grant from the National Institutes of Health to create a technology that more efficiently identifies the presence of cancer in even the smallest of body fluid samples.

The team led by Dmitri Litvinov, professor of electrical and computer engineering, will use the $1 million grant not only to construct, but also to test their biosensor’s ability to spot cancer protein biomarkers for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia—a blood and bone marrow cancer. The device will use magnetic nanotechnology to locate these biomarkers, which are elevated in patients with the disease, on a single molecule level.

“A technology that uses smaller samples that can be taken from patients’ less invasively and directly detect these miniscule biomarkers could cut back on the complicated steps doctors use now that often lead to errors and false positives,” said Litvinov. “This biosensor could do the same job faster, cheaper and with fewer problems.”

Under the Challenge Grant in Health and Science Research Program, launched with stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NIH received some 20,000 applications for funding. Less than 2 percent who applied actually earned one of the grants—designed to further biomedical and behavioral research.



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