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Torrance, CA, United States

Balic M.,Medical University of Graz | Williams A.,University of Miami | Lin H.,Intelligent Optical Systems Inc. | Datar R.,University of Miami | Cote R.J.,University of Miami
Annual Review of Medicine

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) represent a surrogate biomarker of hematogenous metastases. In recent years, their detection has gained increasing interest. There is ample evidence regarding the ability to detect CTCsand their prognostic relevance, but their demonstrated predictive value in therapeutic response monitoring is clinically even more meaningful. Many clinical trials in the early and metastatic cancer setting now include CTCs as a monitoring parameter, and numerous translational studies attempting their molecular characterization are under way. There has been great progress in defining the clinical importance of CTCs, and it now seems likely that we may expect wider implementation of CTCs as a diagnostic oncology tool to monitor therapeutic response in real time. Novel technologies may further facilitate molecular characterization of CTCs and development of novel therapeutic targets, possibly leading to more powerful treatment strategies for cancer patients. As the detection and evaluation of CTCs are becoming an increasingly important diagnostic and prognostic tool, the goal of this review is to communicate the knowledge obtained through analysis of primary tumors and CTCs to oncologists and medical specialists in managing patients with cancer. Copyright © 2013 by Annual Reviews. Source

Agency: Department of Commerce | Branch: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 94.95K | Year: 2015

The bloom-forming algae Karenia brevis produces neurotoxins known as brevetoxins (PbTx) that can cause illness in humans and marine wildlife. During K. brevis blooms, also known as red tides, elevated levels of brevetoxins have been linked to massive bird, fish, and marine mammal kills. In addition, human consumption of brevetoxin contaminated shellfish leads to neurotoxic shellfish poisoning. The economic impact of K. brevis blooms in Florida alone has been estimated to be upwards of $30M/year. In collaboration with Dr. Leanne Flewelling of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc. (IOS) proposes to develop a shore-side, portable, fast, cost-effective PbTx detection immunoassay using lateral flow assays (LFA). Coupling of detector antibodies to high quantum yield labeling technology will enhance assay sensitivity. With this beachside assay, unlike the current laboratory-based assays, NOAA can then implement routine coastal monitoring. In Phase I, IOS will evaluate the feasibility of developing a cost-effective lateral flow assay for the rapid detection of brevetoxins in seawater, with analysis made possible by the use of a portable test strip reader for fluorescent measurement that can be extended to shellfish testing in Phase II.

Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2015

A small number of mycotoxins released by mold infestation in dairy cattle feed lots are responsible for most cases of acute diarrhea in cattle. It is common for feed to be contaminated with more than one species of mycotoxin, so it is important to have a screening tool that is rapid, reliable, cost-effective, and sensitive to different toxins.The proposed cattle feed mycotoxin detection system will contain materials and reagents for multiplexed assays. Custom-built sample extraction units will be fabricated to collect and process silage/grain samples. The sample will be fed through the lateral flow assay cassette sample application window and wicked onto the reagent pad, where it will interact with the embedded reagents to produce a quantifiable reading.The proposed study has a connection to the USDA Global Food Security and Hunger Societal Challenge Area that relates to the protection of ruminants from consumption of contaminated feedstuff, which has been reported to suppress their immune system, limit growth, and cause serious illness and subsequently economic loss. Dairy cattle feed is targeted in the proposed study because dairy production, along with meat, can be evaluated with respect to mycotoxin consumption.

Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2015

As the production of fruits and vegetables increases with the fast growth of consumption in general, post-harvest spoilage is a growing issue for the agricultural industry and for the cost to consumers. A large percentage of all fruits and vegetables produced is lost due to spoilage, making development of new methods and technologies for preservation more important than ever. The proposed smart UV exposure system lays the foundation for the development of a new class of tools and technologies for increasing the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. This technology exploits the well-known germicidal properties of deep ultra violet (UV) radiation, already widely used for water disinfection, to destroy pathogens on the surface of fruits and vegetables and thereby significantly increase their shelf life. An increase in the shelf life of perishable fruits will expand consumer access to fresh produce by reducing product losses during storage and distribution due to microbial spoilage. Reducing the concentration of pathogens on the surface of agricultural products may also reduce the level of refrigeration needed for preservation and thus energy consumption, reducing the greenhouse gas emission and carbon footprint of storage facilities. Moreover, successful employment of deep UV light emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of mercury lamps will not only improve the energy efficiency of storage facilities, but will also eliminate the environmental hazards associated with producing and disposing of mercury lamps.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.98K | Year: 2015

Advanced space suits require lightweight, low-power, durable sensors for monitoring critical life support materials. No current compact sensors have the tolerance for liquid water that is specifically required for portable life support systems (PLSS). Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) will develop a luminescence-based optical sensor probe to monitor carbon dioxide, oxygen, and humidity, and selected trace contaminants. Our monitor will incorporate robust CO2, O2, and H2O partial pressure sensors interrogated by a compact, low-power optoelectronic unit. The sensors will not only tolerate liquid water but will actually operate while wet, and can be remotely connected to electronic circuitry by an optical fiber cable immune to electromagnetic interference. For space systems, these miniature sensor elements with remote optoelectronics give unmatched design flexibility for measurements in highly constrained volume systems such as PLSS. Our flow-through monitor design includes an optical sensor we have already developed for PLSS humidity monitoring, and an optical oxygen sensor, both of them based on a common IOS technology. In prior projects IOS has demonstrated a CO2 sensor capable of operating while wet that also met PLSS environmental and analytical requirements, but did not meet life requirements. A new generation of CO2 sensors will be developed to advance this sensor technology and fully meet all NASA requirements, including sensor life. The totally novel approach will overcome the limitations of state-of-the-art luminescent sensors for CO2. Additional sensors will be developed to monitor trace contaminants often found in the ventilation loop as result of material off-gassing or crew member metabolism. IOS has established collaboration with UTC Aerospace Systems to produce prototypes for space qualification, and will conduct extensive testing under simulated space conditions, ensuring a smooth path to technology infusion.

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