The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is in the development of a technology that measures the function of enzymes, called GTPases. GTPases are molecular on/off switches that control normal cell function and many aspects of health and disease. Current technology only measures the activity of a single GTPase at a time and is labor intensive. High costs further hinder routine laboratory or clinical analyses. A new technology for rapid and sensitive measurements of multiple GTPases in cells or tissues can revolutionize diagnostics and patient response to therapy. Potential commercial clients for the technology include clinical laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and diagnostic kit manufacturers. Clients will be able to distinguish life-threatening conditions that require different treatments or determine drug treatment efficacy within hours instead of days. A 4- to 10-fold lower cost of sample analysis is an added potential benefit.
This I-Corps project will explore the commercialize potential of a new technology and make it broadly available for scientific discovery and clinical applications. The project further develops a technology that measures changes in cell or tissue GTPase enzyme function. Individual GTPases turn on and off in response to external cues that include microbes, disease, drugs and toxins. Coated beads capture active GTPases present in cells or body fluids. A common clinical laboratory instrument, called a flow cytometer, measures captured proteins on the beads. The technology enables drug discovery, diagnostics, and molecular discovery. A numerical readout makes it easy to monitor changes in GTPase activities due to experimental treatments over time and in small samples. Rapid screening of medications that can block disease processes speeds drug discovery. Bringing these innovative capabilities to the commercial market will significantly improve discovery output in academia and industry.