Dr. Christiane Püttmann
Tel.: +49 241 6085 11331
Dr. Christoph Stein
Tel.: +49 241 6085 13442
Within this euregional project, the expertise of various institutions in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine is effectively combined to develop a cost-effective diagnostic tool for early detection of breast cancer. By combining the fields of microsystems technology, biology and medicine a fast, low-cost and modular system should be developed for use in primary care.
Especially the early detection of breast cancer is an important step towards effective treatment. The faster the diagnosis is conducted, the faster the treatment can be started and the greater the chances of successful treatment are. The new system is not only used for supervision at the beginning of a diagnosis, but can also be used to monitor the therapy success. Many patients need to travel long distances to reach specialized centers for their regular follow-up care. This time-consuming testing and analysis do not only pose a loss in time but also a reduction of quality of life. For this reason, it is quite thinkable and even desirable to use a new system that is easy to use and which quickly gives clear and reliable results.
After the identification of new tumor markers in the blood of breast cancer patients at the Pathology of UK Aachen, it is the responsibility of the scientists at EMI to analyze these proteins with bioinformatical tools and to define domains that are suitable for development of new antibodies. They will be produced using state-of-the-art antibody technologies and will later be characterized by different methods. Full-length recombinant molecules as well as smaller sized proteins will be assembled into a functional bioassay, which will finally be transferred into a biochip. Its suitability for the detection of previously identified antigens in patient material will subsequently be analyzed. In parallel to the application in early breast cancer detection, surface antigens on metastatic breast cancer cells shall be used to detect such cells in the blood and make them available for routine techniques.
In close cooperation with the engineers, who realize the chip design, different functionalization techniques will also be evaluated in terms of their suitability for the use in a biochip system.