Anna Zarra Aldrich writes for University of Connecticut news that a pair of PhD research students are developing a new technology to improve the efficiency of cancer treatment. Their ultimate goal is to reduce mortality rates in cancer patients. Encapsulate is an automated tumor-on-a-chip system that takes a patient’s tumor cells and grows them outside of the body to test different cancer treatments. This represents a novel and potentially comprehensive method to reduce the trial-and-error aspect of cancer treatment that exhausts the patients, generates enormous financial costs and often poses grave risk to the patient. A challenge today is rapidly assessing which FDA-approved drug works best for a specific cancer. Presently, this represents a trial-and-error process. If this assessment could be accomplished more rapidly with externally developed tumors, this could save the patient from extensive and ongoing chemotherapy while they wait to see which cancer drug may be optimal for their condition.
The PhD students, Armin Tahmasbi Rad and Leila Daneshmandi, are participating in Accelerate UConn which Daneshmandi notes “can serve as a single point for anyone who thinks they have a technology that has commercial potential”. Accelerate UConn, the University’s National Science Foundation I-Corps site, was launched in 2015. It is jointly operated by UConn’s Office the of the Vice President for Research and the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI).