SUMMARY OF INVENTION
Metabolic deregulation is a hallmark of cancer and the focus of rapidly expanding research efforts. Although the analysis of cancer stem cell metabolism offers important insights into treatment response and new therapeutic targets, researchers are limited by conventional metabolic flux analysis techniques that require a prohibitively large number of cells per measurement and the destruction of those cells in the process – putting circulating tumor cells, stem cells, organoids, and tissue biopsies largely out of reach.
MSK investigators have developed a novel “lab-on-a-chip” hyperpolarized micro-coil NMR platform that combines the signal enhancement of hyperpolarized metabolites with a more sensitive micro-coil design. This allows for highly-sensitive, non-invasive, real-time measurement of metabolic flux in a greatly-reduced number of cells. The system could also permit cell samples to be re-probed within seconds using microfluidics, and offers the potential for a high-throughput approach in a standalone apparatus that could enable expanded efforts in targeted drug discovery and real-time treatment analysis.
This micro-NMR platform already has demonstrated the potential to analyze metabolic flux in <100K cancer cells with 1000x-higher sensitivity, maintain cell viability during measurement, and rapidly analyze treatment efficacy after drug treatment. The investigators continue to optimize the prototype design, with the potential for sponsored research or additional collaboration structures.
- Significantly enhances sensitivity compared to regular NMR signal, with potential for improvement
- Exponentially reduces the number of cells required for analysis and maintains cell viability
- Potential for future HTS approach to enable drug discovery efforts and treatment analysis
The metabolomics field continues to expand, with service and tool providers driving a ~$100 million market that centers on the use of liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and NMR – as well as a growing oncology drug development effort focused specifically on cell metabolism. Unlike genomics or proteomics, metabolomics has suffered from a lack of new tools and methods to characterize cells and tissues at a deeper level, with the limited current options at a high price point. The hyperpolarized micro-NMR system has the potential to fill this void.
AREAS OF APPLICATION
Research tool, biomarkers, treatment efficacy analysis, HTS, drug discovery
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT
Pending U.S. National Application 16/082,225 filed September 4, 2018; pending applications in Canada, Europe, and China
Kannan Krishnamurthy, PhD