This is a short list of some of the projects ongoing in the lab and in conjunction with our collaborators. Please contact us for more information about any of them.
Center for Future Technologies in Cancer Care (CFTCC)
Dr. Klapperich is the director of the CFTCC. Moving cancer treatments out of specialized centers and into local clinics or home care could significantly lower healthcare costs. Often patients have to travel large distances to receive treatments at cancer centers. In low resource settings in the developing world, there may not be any options for cancer treatment. Surgical treatments carry infection risks and in many places there are not enough surgeons to treat all of the patients in need. Technologies such as targeted ultrasound and light-based treatments could allow providers with less specialized training to treat more patients for less money. Tools for monitoring chemotherapy patients at home between treatments could eliminate travel and office visits. Mobile health strategies for collecting data about high-risk populations could lead to new interventions to directly impact cancer screening rates.
To address these issues, the Center is focusing on the identification, prototyping and early clinical assessment of innovative point-of-care technologies for the treatment, screening, diagnosis and monitoring of cancers. A major aspect of this effort involves assessing early stage technologies in terms of clinical needs, market demands, setting appropriateness and commercialization strategies. The integrated multidisciplinary team, consisting of engineers, clinicians, public health practitioners, and technology transfer experts, is currently evaluating technologies in various stages of development for suitability across a range of primary care and non-traditional healthcare settings. The Center is funded by a grant from the NIBIB to Dr. Klapperich.
POC Helicase Dependent Amplification of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG)
This proof-of-concept project is focused on the most abundant sexually transmitted disease (STD) pathogens: Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG). The scientific literature clearly shows that molecular testing is the most sensitive means of detecting CT and NG and the molecular CT/NG high throughput screening market is currently valued at over $300M/year. Moreover, CDC urges STD clinics to test patients with POC tests if health care workers suspect these patients are unlikely to return to the STD clinic to learn the results of the test. Unfortunately, there are no point-of-care (POC) CT NG molecular tests, and existing POC molecular testing systems like the GeneXpert are too costly for use in STD clinics. We are developing a low-cost POC molecular diagnostic system for instrument-free detection of amplification products. The device will incorporate a lateral flow strip as a means of detecting the presence or absence of nucleic acid amplification products by simple visual inspection. This work was funded by an STTR grant from NIAID to Dr. Klapperich and BioHelix, Inc.
Sample Preparation for a POC HIV Viral Load Test
This NIH funded project is a collaboration with Wave80 Biosciences (San Francisco, CA). We are working on viral RNA extraction from whole blood input samples. The goal of the project is to detect a semiquantitative viral load in HIV patients on drug therapy at the point of care. This work is funded by a subcontract to BU from Wave80 from the NIAID.
POC Device for Sample Preparation Upstream of SERS Identification of Bacteria in Blood
When a patient arrives in an emergency room with clinical symptoms consistent with bloodstream infection, blood cultures are drawn and empiric antimicrobial therapy is given; the actual identification of the pathogen by the laboratory typically takes one or more days. In the absence of specific data on the identity and susceptibility of the pathogen at the time of presentation, the clinician is forced to choose broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy to cover all possible causes of the suspected bloodstream infection. Unfortunately, such empiric choices can sometimes end up being either ineffective (in the setting of antimicrobial resistance) or unnecessarily broad (in the setting of a susceptible and easily treated organism), potentially increasing morbidity, mortality, and resultant health care costs . To address this need, the Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation (FCMI) has developed a prototype identification system based on surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). This work is funded by a subcontract to BU from a grant to Dr. Alexis Sauer-Budge at FCMI by the NIAID.