Piyush Jain, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida, has been awarded a grant from the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation to develop a CRISPR-based urine test for early detection of breast cancer.
“There is an urgent need to develop a non-invasive, sensitive and specific screening strategy for early detection of breast cancer, especially for high-risk populations,” Dr. Jain said.
In this project, Dr. Jain will collaborate with Shuang Huang, Ph.D., at the UF College of Medicine to identify a panel of early-stage genetic biomarkers in the urine of patients referred for breast biopsy, and to develop an innovative self-testing platform.
Similar to a pregnancy strip, the paper-based test would provide a quick and easy detection method without requiring a hospital, lab, or instrumentation, and could be used to diagnose other types of cancer and genetic diseases at an early stage.
Dr. Jain’s Nano-Biomolecular Precision Lab is focused on developing a multi-scale biomolecular engineering platform using nucleic acids chemistry, protein engineering, and nanoengineering. They employ an array of bioanalytical techniques with immediate applications for the detection and treatment of genetic disorders, infectious diseases, and cancer.