Purdue Veterinary Medicine Research Supported by $44,656 from Trask Innovation Fund

Friday, February 18, 2022

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Dr. Debbie Knapp pictured performing an ultrasound on a dog

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization has awarded more than $143,000 from the Trask Innovation Fund across three projects, including one involving researchers in the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Engineering.  That project is being led by Dr. Deborah Knapp, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Oncology and director of the Purdue Comparative Oncology Program, and Dr. Saeed Mohammadi, professor of electrical and computer engineering. Working as co-primary investigators, the pair is seeking to develop a faster, noninvasive and low-cost cancer screening technique.

The research involves creating a prototype which would allow bladder cancer in dogs to be detected from urine samples. Project leaders will distribute prototype devices to researchers at Purdue and elsewhere who work on transitional cell carcinoma, or TCC, in dogs. Provided these trials prove effective, the long term goal would be to detect bladder cancer and other diseases in humans as well. The innovation has been licensed from the Office of Technology Commercialization to Molecular Diagnostics, a startup company.

“Dr. Knapp is a world-renowned researcher on TCC. She will help with testing TCC and control samples,” Dr. Mohammadi said. “We hope to improve the sensitivity and specificity of our technique so it can be used to detect the disease at early stages and improve the prognosis of the disease. If this can be established, there will be a good potential for the application of such a simple and noninvasive technique for screening cancer in humans.”

The two other projects receiving Trask Innovation Fund support involve research in the College of Agriculture’s Department of Agronomy and Department of Botany and Plant Pathology.  The Trask Innovation Fund was established in 1974 by a gift from Verne A. Trask in memory of his wife, Ramoth Trask. The objective of the Trask Innovation Fund is to support short-term projects that will enhance the commercial value of Purdue University intellectual property assets. The fund is a competitive program available to Purdue innovators to fund activity in the innovators’ Purdue laboratories. Over $2.6 million dollars have been donated to 69 technologies over the last 10 years.

Click here for more information about the most recent round of funding.


Writer(s): Hailee Rolofson, PVM Communications Intern | pvmnews@purdue.edu


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