News & Events

Researchers offer new strategies for the use of extracellular vesicles as biomarkers

August 21, 2019

With advances in technology and our understanding of the human body, come better techniques for diagnosing disease. One recent innovation involves the use of extracellular vesicles as biomarkers for a range of illnesses. Extracellular vesicles are tiny bubbles of material emitted from most living cells that can offer vital clues about the status of the cells producing them. However, the field of extracellular vesicle (EV) research is a relatively new one, and there are more refinements to be...

New ‘liquid biopsy’ blood test improves breast cancer diagnostics

August 7, 2019

 A new type of blood test for breast cancer could help avoid thousands of unnecessary surgeries and otherwise precisely monitor disease progression, according to a study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Mayo Clinic in Arizona and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. TGen is an affiliate of City of Hope, which along with Cambridge University also contributed to this study. Published today in the premier journal Science Translational...

DARPA grants ASU up to $38.8 million to create epigenetic tool for fight against weapons of mass destruction

July 22, 2019

Arizona State University announced today that it has been selected by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to build a field-deployable, point-of-care device that will determine in 30 minutes or less if a person has been exposed to weapons of mass destruction or their precursors. The DARPA award, worth up to $38.8 million over four years in phases and options, will build on the university’s growing capabilities in developing molecular diagnostics for applications in...

ASU researchers chip away the mysteries of cancer metastasis

July 10, 2019

One of the current paradigms in cancer treatment is not to treat a tumor itself. Rather, therapeutics can focus on a tumor’s microenvironment — the area where tumor cells and a patient’s healthy tissues collide. Mehdi Nikkhah, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, has been working for the past five years on bioengineering a way to study the tumor microenvironment. In a project led by recent ASU...

Master of the immune system: Myxoma virus could solve long-standing medical conundrums

June 25, 2019

Virus: friend or foe? Viruses are likely the most abundant biological entities on Earth – they inhabit every ecosystem, and thus have shaped the evolution of most species. But we have been conditioned to believe that viruses only pose a threat to life. Until recently, viruses were only thought to be infectious agents that exist and replicate within the cells of a host organism, often causing life-threatening illnesses. Although this is true and much of modern healthcare is aimed at...

Peptides show promise for early detection of pancreatic cancer

May 14, 2019

Cancer is a protean disease, assuming many forms and disguises. Despite enormous strides in research in past decades, some cancers remain persistently lethal. Pancreatic cancer—one of the ten most common cancers for both men and women—is one such affliction.  Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common form of the disease, is notoriously difficult to detect in its early stages and has a 5-year survival rate of less than 5 percent. In new research appearing in the...

Good genes: Researchers break down DNA of world’s largest mammals to discover how whales defy the cancer odds

May 9, 2019

Scientists know that age and weight are risk factors in the development of cancer. That should mean that whales, which include some of the largest and longest-lived animals on Earth, have an outsized risk of developing cancer. But they don’t. Instead, they are less likely to develop or die of this enigmatic disease. The same is true of elephants and dinosaurs’ living relatives, birds. Marc Tollis, an assistant professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems at...

Proofreading the book of life: gene editing made safer

April 23, 2019

The advance of science is something like the wandering of an explorer through an uncharted jungle. Often, the dense undergrowth can seem impenetrable, but at certain privileged moments, a clearing opens, and an entirely new landscape emerges.                                    Something like this is occurring in the...

LaBaer start-up selected for Flinn Foundation Entrepreneurship Program

March 19, 2019

Ordinatrix, a startup company launched by Biodesign Institute Executive Director Joshua LaBaer, is one of six bioscience firms from Phoenix and Tucson selected to participate in the Flinn Foundation’s 2019 Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program. Ordinatrix, a Phoenix-based company, will receive $30,000 in funding support and program services through a nonprofit partner. The services include “a professionally developed, yearlong plan specific to the needs of the company, helping them...

ASU researchers address a primary cause of treatment failure for pancreatic cancer

January 10, 2019

As the second leading cause of death worldwide, cancer is a focal point in both clinical research and health care fields, but not all cancers are created equal. While some cancers are now much less deadly due to recent medical advances, other aggressive cancers remain highly resistant to currently available therapies. This therapy resistance is a leading cause of cancer-associated death. Pancreatic cancer is an extreme example of this effect, and therapy resistance is a major reason why only...