The near-term commercial opportunity targets the research market and is a set of diagnostic chips for the measurement of prospective biomarkers of early stage pancreatic cancer. The commercial availability of these chips would increase the odds for researchers in successfully identifying useful biomarkers. In addition, activated, customizable chips would be available to researchers interested in designing assays for pancreatic cancer biomarkers of their own choosing. A turn-key system, including a chip reader would also be available. The ultimate and most important commercial product targets the clinical diagnostic market. It would be a diagnostic assay system for early-stage pancreatic cancer detection. Such a system could be an important screening tool for at-risk patients.
Pancreatic cancer is a lethal disease that is diagnosed in approximately 30,000 patients each year in the United States. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer are vague, and the majority of cases are diagnosed as late stage disease, with poor prognosis of long-term survival. As with many cancers, a reliable and convenient assay that can detect early- stage pancreatic cancer is highly desired. Detecting low-abundance tumor biomarkers in blood is a potential means of achieving an early diagnosis. However, a recent model of tumor growth indicates that an early- stage cancer diagnosis requires detecting biomarkers at concentrations much lower than achievable by standard assay methods. To meet this need, we propose to develop a highly sensitive chip-based assay for prospective biomarkers of pancreatic cancer. The assay would be readily adaptable to a clinical setting and capable of detecting very low concentrations of biomarkers. The assay would be capable of multiplexed analysis of a suite of biomarkers and provide convenient, accurate, and robust diagnostic assays.