Modular Nanotechnologies for Cancer Drug Screening
Award last edited on: 1/11/06

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code

Principal Investigator
Cynthia C Bamdad

Company Information

Minerva Biotechnologies Corporation

40 Bear Hill Road
Waltham, MA 02451
   (781) 487-0200
Location: Single
Congr. District: 05
County: Middlesex

Phase I

Contract Number: 1R43CA084678-01
Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Minerva Biotechnologies will develop MEMS (microelectronic micromechanical systems) technology to electronically detect and quantitate proteins on the surface of an intact cell and screen for drugs to block them. Preliminary results indicate that the technology can be used to quantitate proteins on the surface of a single cell (100 molecule detection): a level not possible with existing technology. Our approach would allow more accurate assessment of how protein expression is altered, on the surface of cancer cells, and eliminate uncertainties introduced by large heterogeneous cell populations. We will extend the system so that proteins on the surface of cells embedded in a tumor section can be electronically analyzed, in situ. Each sector (dimensions similar to a cell) of the, tissue specimen could be analyzed for protein content and expression level, then correlated with histopathology. This capability will ensure the relevance of single cell analysis because it will enable the researcher to identify protein patterns that are associated with cancer cells and discard random aberrant protein expression. Capability to quantitate tumor markers will help clinicians assess prognosis and predict response to therapy. The electronics of the technology are inexpensive and miniaturizable, making it compatible with either basic research or clinical settings. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: The technology we are seeking SBIR funding to develop will allow for the cheap, rapid and ultra-sensitive detection of proteins on the surface of intact cells. The technology is immediately applicable to cancer diagnosis and the monitoring of response to therapy . The same technology can be massively multiplexed using computer microelectronics for screening of anti-cancer drug candidates on cells and for the identification of likely anti-cancer drug targets by identifying interacting receptors and ligands

Phase II

Contract Number: 2R44CA084678-02
Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase II year
(last award dollars: 2002)
Phase II Amount

We propose to further develop, multiplex, and apply novel nanotechnologies, demonstrated in Phase I. These technologies will, for the first time, enable effective, high throughput drug screening that will identify novel compounds that block ligand-receptor interactions on the surface of live cells. We will target specific cell surface receptors that have been implicated in tumorigenesis, metastasis and angiogenesis. A second in vitro nano-based technology will be extended to screen for synthetic mimics of protein-based drugs, such as antibodies and natural products. These assays will be specifically developed to identify synthetic mimics of known angiogenesis inhibitors, for which large-scale production costs may be prohibitive. Large, chemically diverse drug libraries will be screened as a part of this project. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: The technologies demonstrated in Phase I have significant commercial potential. One technology enables high throughput screening for a class of target receptors implicated in cancer that have heretofore been difficult to assay in a relevant way. The other technology offers a direct approach to identifying synthetic mimics of drugs that are too costly to produce in mass quantities. The technologies are modular and thus easily adapted to facilitate screening of a wide variety of targets without further modification to the platform technology. Both the technologies as well as any drug leads identified would be of extreme interest to pharmaceutical companies