2018 LCRF Scientific Grant Program
Amanda Kussrow, PhD
High sensitivity assay methodology to improve lung cancer diagnosis
Diagnosis of lung cancer presents a significant challenge, resulting in morbidity and management costs of $28 billion/year in the U.S. Current methods to diagnose lung cancer have limitations that result in a high rate of unnecessary procedures, can cause patient anxiety, or even result in missed chances for cure, resulting in death. Here it was possible to significantly improve the diagnostic potential of a blood-based circulating tumor marker, CYFRA 21-1, by using a new assay and detection methodology that provides increased sensitivity over existing techniques. When applied to a 225 patient cohort, the increased performance of the assay allowed discrimination of cancer from non-cancer patient samples that were indistinguishable by current methods. The assay is a mix-and-read approach that is rapid, label-free, and requires only a drop of serum for a determination. The reader is quite simple, having an optical train similar to a CD player, consisting of a diode laser, capillary tube, and camera. This project will further explore the performance of the CYFRA 21-1 biomarker in a larger patient cohort, investigate the diagnostic value of incorporating two additional target biomarker assays (CA-125 and CEA), and refine the assay methodology to make it compatible with the near-patient setting.