Li-Qun Gu, PhD and Michael Wang, MD, PhD

Principal Investigators

Li-Qun Gu, PhD

Department of Bioengineering

Michael Wang, MD, PhD

Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

Li-Qun Gu, PhD, (left)
and Michael Wang, MD, PhD

A microRNA-based molecular diagnostics platform, focused initially on monitoring lung cancer therapy

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality; 160,000 people in the US and 1.2 million worldwide die from this disease each year. Lung cancer-derived circulating microRNAs are being investigated as a new type of biomarker for lung cancer early diagnosis. However, current methods including qRT-PCR and microarrays have limitations in accurate quantification of circulating microRNA.

In this project, the PI’s will advance the nanopore single-molecule sensor technology invented in the PIs’ labs into a sensitive and accurate microRNA assay that can be used as a cost effective non-invasive clinical screening test for early diagnosis of lung cancer. The system can also be used in assay of new biomarkers for all other types of cancers and other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even psychiatric disorders. The nanopore sensor can be adapted to detect any pathogenic DNA or RNA fragments, and detect a single nucleotide polymorphism and DNA methylation with many broad clinical applications including early diagnosis, prediction of cancer metastasis, monitoring of response to therapy, and detection of minimal residual disease.

This technology has been licensed to Nanopore Diagnostics and they are actively raising funds to continue development.