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Screening of glioblastoma oncometabolite by ultrafast solid phase microextraction approach

Principal Investigator:
  • Janusz Pawliszyn, University of Waterloo
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Project Overview

Need for project: The rate of success of a given treatment for brain cancer is dependent on early diagnosis followed by qualification for surgery, which to date remains as the course of treatment with the highest survival rate for brain cancer patients. In this regard, a fast and reliable population screening method for early cancer detection would allow for faster diagnosis and earlier surgical intervention, which in turn would lower the risk of death or loss of function associated with the procedure itself.

Goal of project: The proposed project will focus on the development of an analytical method for high-throughput, low-cost quantification of known oncometabolites related to brain tumors. The analytical platform chosen for this purpose is solid-phase microextraction (SPME) directly hyphenated to a mass spectrometer, which would enable ultra-fast quantification (below 2 minutes) of biomarkers. The SPME protocol can be simplified to be easily performed by personnel unspecialized in analytical chemistry.

Project description: We propose to optimize and validate three approaches based on the SPME: coated blade spray (CBS), microfluidic open interface (MOI), and probe electrospray ionization (PESI) for detection of known oncometabolites (e.g. N-acetyl-aspartate, 2 hydroxyglutarate, glutamate, α-ketoglutarate, etc.) in plasma, serum, and blood. SPME is a biocompatible sample preparation technique that has been successfully applied to various biomedical applications.

Future impact: The SPME sampling protocol and materials can be made available as ready-to-use kits for use at diagnosis centers, point-of-care, etc. After extraction, the SPME device can be stored and shipped to mass spectrometry (MS) facility, enabling obtaining results within a day or two. In facilities that have MS facility, e.g. larger hospitals, results could be ready in under an hour. This rapid screening protocol would enable cheap, on-site rapid screening performed by medical personnel to identify patients who should undergo further confirmatory testing, thus narrowing the waiting list for MRI testing while also enabling earlier detection.