News & Events

Biodesign Institute launches partnership with China’s #1 biomedical research complex

September 30, 2019

The world’s problems rarely respect national boundaries. Diseases like autism, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, infections cross populations, territories, genders and ethnicities. Today’s most formidable challenges require multidimensional, multidisciplinary and creative thinking and action. When it comes to innovation, Arizona State University casts a wide net from its metropolitan Phoenix home base. Partnerships form close to home, and throughout the far corners of the globe,...

Better samples, better science: new study explores integrity of research specimens

September 23, 2019

Effective diagnosis and treatment of disease draws on painstaking research, which often relies on biological samples. The avalanche of studies used to better understand illnesses and design effective therapies cost billions of dollars and potentially affects millions of lives. So, it would seem reasonable to assume that the reliability of biological samples, on which accurate results depend, would be of paramount concern for the scientific community. According to Chad Borges, a researcher...

Bright lights, big science: Revolutionary laser instrument receives $4.7 million boost from the National Science Foundation

September 17, 2019

Deep within the subterranean confines of Building C—the latest addition to the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University—a pathbreaking machine is quietly taking shape. Designed to unlock some of nature’s tiniest and most fleeting mysteries, the Compact X-ray Free Electron Laser (CXFEL) is the only instrument of its kind in the world. The device is the brainchild of physicist William Graves, a passionate authority on massive, intricate machines for leading-edge science. For the...

An innovative diagnostic for Lyme disease

August 26, 2019

When researchers examined the mitochondrial DNA of Ötzi, a man entombed in ice high in the Tyrolean Alps some 5,300 years ago, they made a startling discovery. Secreted within the tangles of the ice man’s genetic code was evidence he’d been infected with a bacterial pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi. Ötzi is the first known case of Lyme disease. Today, Lyme disease is a mounting health concern, with estimates of over 300,000 cases in the US annually. The illness, which produces a...

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...