High-throughput, Microfluidic Monitoring of Enzymatic Activity for Personalized Medicine
WINNER: Winner of Diagnostic Devices Category
For cancer treatment, there is a need to develop therapeutics that are able to selectively target diseased sites. These therapeutics, however, are unable to combat intratumor and intertumor heterogeneity, thereby lowering their efficacy. One subclass of these therapeutics are prodrugs (precursor forms activated by an intracellular enzyme that target differential enzymatic activity in tumors. Understanding enzymatic activity of the tumor prior to prodrug administration will allow physicians to design a better therapeutic plan. Currently, however, there exists no such method. Therefore, as a tool for personalizing cancer treatment, we have developed a novel, robust technology to accompany all prodrug treatments. This technology, termed “P-MED” (Personalized Monitoring of Enzyme Dynamics), provides quantitative enzymatic activity measurements of single cells in a high-throughput manner by monitoring the turnover of fluorogenic substrate in a microfluidic device. P-MED can be used by physicians to predetermine the success of a variety of drugs on a per-patient basis. We envision this method to have far reaching implications in cancer treatment and pharmaceutical drug testing.