August 25, 2016

NIH Grants Researchers $1M For Cancer Detection Technology in Africa

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The National Institutes of Health granted $1 million to researchers from Cornell University, University of California, San Francisco and the Infectious Diseases Institute in Kampala, Uganda for the development of technology for a diagnosis of Kaposi’s sarcoma — a cancer frequently related to HIV infections.

The four-year grant will help fight one of the most common cancers with high morbidity and mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the University.

According to Dr. Ethel Cesarman, pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, the project’s goal is to create “an easy diagnostic method that can be implemented in small rural clinics, so that diagnosis can be made in early stages and still be cured with available treatments.”

Prof. David Erickson, mechanical and aerospace engineering, said solar-powered systems developed at Cornell will enable medical technicians to obtain biopsy samples.

The solar thermal polymerase chain reaction system, KS Detect, can be used to run diagnostic tests of Kaposi’s sarcoma via a smartphone app in 30 minutes, according to the University.

Cesarman added that the project’s success may expand its methods to other diseases, impacting the survival of other patients.