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Miller Receives Patent for Technology that Can Help Detect Flu

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Benjamin L. Miller, Ph.D., professor of Dermatology, recently received yet another patent for a new technology that can detect miniscule amounts of specific molecules in blood or other liquids. The patent focuses on using this technology to make detecting immune responses to the flu quicker and easier.

The AIR™ Platform, marketed by Adarza Biosystems, can detect immune responses to flu vaccines as well as the virus itself. With a small blood sample from a patient, doctors can confirm a flu infection, see if the patient mounts an appropriate immune response to a vaccine, or see if immune responses cross react with several different strains of flu. AIR™ can also be used for viral surveillance.

While Miller’s AIR™ system is not the first to make these things possible, it is a great improvement on previous technologies. Its silicon chip, which is only about the size of the end of a pencil eraser, allows scientists to detect hundreds of different target molecules in a single drop of fluid, and its “label-free” design requires fewer steps and reagents, thus reducing cost and opportunities for error.

“Label-free” systems suppress background noise to detect tiny signals, whereas conventional “labeled” systems use a more cumbersome design to amplify a tiny signal, often creating a lot of background noise in the process.

“It’s like walking through a city during the day and looking up at the buildings,” Miller said. “You have no idea what's going on in the offices because there's so much ambient light, but if you come back at night, it's easy to see.”

Miller suppresses background noise using a near-perfect anti-reflective coating on his silicon chips. For every 100 million photons of light that hit the surface of the chip, only one photon is reflected back. That coating also contains capture molecules meant to bind or “capture” specific target molecules, like antibodies produced in response to the flu virus. The more antibodies that bind to the chip, the more the anti-reflective coating is perturbed, and the more light is reflected and captured by a camera.

This simple and unconventional design and the ability to use capture molecules both big and small makes AIR™ extremely versatile. From cancer and infectious diseases, to agriculture and food safety, AIR™ is poised to expedite research and clinical testing across a wide range of applications.

Lisa A. DeLouise Receives Patent for Microfluidic Device

Friday, July 8, 2016

Lisa A. DeLouise, Ph.D., M.P.D., associate professor of Dermatology, Biomedical Engineering, Material Chemistry and Electrical and Computer Engineering and a member of the Environmental Health and Science Center, has received a patent for her microfluidic device and a method of manufacturing the device.

Research in the DeLouise Lab – funded by NYSTAR, NSF, DCFAR, CTSI and URVentures – has led to the development of a single cell screening technology platform based on microbubble well array. Single cell screening technologies can facilitate the discovery of rare cells.

DeLouise’s current work, in collaboration with James J. Kobie, Ph.D., assistant professor of Infectious Diseases, seeks to sort antigen-specific antibody-secreting B cells for the development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and the detection of cancer stem cells that harbor genetic mutations that confer their tumor-initiating and drug-resistant properties.

Dermatologists to Offer Free Skin Cancer Screening May 7

Monday, April 11, 2016

UR Medicine’s Department of Dermatology is joining forces with the American Academy of Dermatology and the Rochester Dermatologic Society to provide free skin cancer screenings 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 7, at Strong Memorial Hospital in the Dermatology Suite on the second floor of the Ambulatory Care Facility. Screening is offered on a first-come, first-served basis and no appointment is needed.

Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined, according to the American Center Society.

“Sun damage is cumulative and includes exposures that can seem just a part of our daily lives such as walking the dog, mowing the lawn or a trip to the store,” said Marc Brown, M.D., professor of Dermatology and Oncology at UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute. “An annual skin cancer screening can help detect any current problems and also uncovering your risk factors for the future.”

In addition to screening, Brown recommends taking these steps to protect your skin from sun exposure:

  • Wear sunscreen—your skin can be damaged by the sun in as little as 15 minutes. Apply sunscreen, with SPF 30 or greater and both UVA and UVB protection, 15 to 20 minutes before you go outside. Don’t forget areas such as the back of your neck, top of your ears arms and legs, and scalp if you’ve lost some hair. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, and after swimming or actively sweating.
  • Wear a hat and loose-fitting clothing—a hat with a four-inch brim will shade more than 95 percent of your face, head, ears and neck. Wear light-weight clothes that cover your arms and legs.
  • Avoid the most intense sunlight—schedule activities in the early morning or late afternoon to keep out of the most intense sunlight, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Don’t tan indoors—indoor tanning has also been linked to skin cancers. Tanning beds or booths are not safe and do not protect your skin from sun damage.

A skin cancer screening takes about five minutes and participants each get a written report of any findings, as well as information on skin cancer and skin cancer prevention.

For more information about the free screening clinic, contact the Dermatology Department at (585) 275-0193.

Read More: Dermatologists to Offer Free Skin Cancer Screening May 7