Award to Help Commercialize Technology that Predicts Cancer Metastasis

By Gina Wadas

With help from an award from the Maryland Innovation Initiative, Konstantinos Konstantopoulos and co-principal investigator Stuart S. Martin are developing a pathway to commercialize a technology that can help identify the likelihood a patient’s cancer will metastasize based on their cells’ behavior rather than genetics.

Researchers and clinicians don’t fully understand why some cancers spread and others do not. What they do know is that when cancer does metastasize, it dramatically decreases survival rates. If physicians could predict the likelihood that primary tumors will metastasize, they would be able to choose the best treatment options for patients. This is where the technology known as MAqCIP, Microfluidic Assay for Quantification of Cell Invasion and Proliferation, can help. Konstantopoulos has already tested the technology in some breast cancers, but the award will help expand the technology to test more cell types and possible drug combinations that can help with cancer treatments.

Konstantopoulos is a core faculty member at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology and professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Martin is a professor of physiology at the University of Maryland.

Konstantopoulos and Martin have been collaborating on projects since 2011. Their expertise intersects in the broad areas of cell mechanics and migration, but Konstantopoulos has expertise in microfluidics while Martin has expertise in maintaining cancer cell characteristics and behaviors derived from patient’s tumors. One challenge in studying cancer cells is that once cells are removed from the patient’s body, they behave differently and can stop multiplying, making it difficult for researchers learn about these cell characteristics and how they behave. Their combined experiences will help overcome this challenge.

The Maryland Innovation Initiative is a partnership between the State of Maryland and five Maryland state research institutions to promote technology commercialization.

More information

Predicting Breast Cancer Metastasis by Cell Behavior Instead of Genetics