Cancer Detection Breakthrough Developed In Oklahoma

Thursday, May 3rd 2007, 6:00 pm
By: News On 6

New technology on the cutting edge of cancer research was developed here in Oklahoma. Scientists believe it will detect signs of prostate cancer much earlier than current methods. Molecuprint, the company that hopes to bring it to the world was started by three University of Tulsa students. The News On 6's Heather Lewin reports they got a jump on the future before they even got their diplomas.

"We employ and develop the use of biomarkers to detect prostate cancer, basically what we do, you can think of it kind of like a fingerprint," said University of Tulsa biochemistry major Ryan Hughes.

It's a lot like investigating a crime scene, Ryan Hughes says prostate cancer leaves a distinct marker, like a fingerprint, in your bloodstream. A marker that a new blood test is able to detect from the very first mutated cell, long before the cancer grows.

"With prostate cancer you usually have to wait until it's visible because usually they will do a PSA test and if that comes back positive you'll wait and do another PSA test, and wait and you'll do it again. Then usually they'll do a digital rectal exam to identify it and biopsy it to see if it's there, and we're able to do it at a microscopic level," said Hughes.

The method was developed and patented by OU researcher Dr. H.K. Lin. Lin was paired with the University of Tulsa students who entered a statewide contest to develop a business plan. They won first place and Molecuprint was born.

"We were given $20,000 grand prize money and $50,000, what I2E calls an innovation package, to start our company," TU business major Matt Ralston said.

"The biotechnology and medicine industry is really on the verge of a whole new era, with it going from strictly treatment to more a predictive and preventive type of foundation," said Kenneth Knoll, University of Tulsa finance major.

The new testing method has the potential to apply to more than just prostate cancer. The group's ultimate goal is an easily accessible and affordable blood test patients would get once a year that could detect multiple types of cancer.

"We just feel that we can actually go out there and help some people and save some lives," Hughes said.

Researchers hope to find these "fingerprints" for other cancers and develop a bimolecular library that would be marketed to labs nationwide. They say the method is very successful in early testing, but still needs clinical trials and FDA approval.

To find out more, you can check out the Molecuprint website,

Watch the video: Cancer Detection Breakthrough