Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012. In 2015, it was estimated that 1,658,370 new cases of cancer would be diagnosed in the United States, and 589,430 people would die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
Several technologies discovered at Purdue University focus on the treatment of cancer, including some being commercialized through startup companies. These include:
1. A technique to predict where a cancer tumor will form on the skin after exposure to a carcinogen and an imaging device that provides surgeons real-time quantitative information about the tumor margins. The surveyed area can be a few hundred millimeters square and two millimeters deep. It was developed by Young Kim, associate professor of biomedical engineering. He has received funding from the Trask Innovation Fund, which assists faculty and staff whose discoveries are commercialized through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.
2. An onsite cervical cancer screening test. The single-use, user-friendly technology uses key protein biomarkers that are specific to cervical precancerous lesions. It was developed by Joseph Irudayaraj, professor of agricultural and biological engineering and deputy director of the Bindley Bioscience Center.
3. Akanocure Pharmaceuticals Inc., which commercializes research led by Philip Fuchs, the emeritus R. B. Wetherill Professor of Organic Chemistry. The startup is developing technology that could large-scale synthesize and develop anti-cancer chemotherapeutic drugs derived from natural sources.
4. Animated Dynamics Inc. commercializes research led by Purdue physics professor David D. Nolte and Purdue basic medical sciences professor John Turek. The startup is developing a biodynamic testing service that could help customize cancer therapy for personalized cancer care.
5. KinaSense, which commercializes technology that could reduce the amount of time oncologists need to determine whether a cancer drug is working on a patient’s cancer cells.