The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grantsmmp9 through its 2014 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development.  McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Steven Little, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Associate Professor and CNG Faculty Fellow in the Departments of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Bioengineering, Immunology, and Ophthalmology, affiliated faculty member Tatum Tarin, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Urology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Director of Urologic Oncology at UPMC Mercy, and Abhinav Acharya, PhD Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, received funding for their project entitled, “Diagnosis of Aggressive Prostate Cancer via Detection of MMP9 in Biological Fluids.”  The award is to develop a prototype chemical assay device for detection of femtomolar levels of MMP9 in biological fluids.

CMI, a University Center housed in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE), supports applied technology projects in the early stages of development with “kickstart” funding toward the goal of transitioning the research to clinical adoption. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, technical and clinical relevance, potential health care impact and significance, experience of the investigators, and potential in obtaining further financial investment to translate the particular solution to healthcare.

“This is our third year of pilot funding, and our leadership team could not be more excited with the breadth and depth of this round’s awardees,” said Alan D. Hirschman, PhD, CMI Executive Director. “This early-stage interdisciplinary research helps to develop highly specific biomedical technologies through a proven strategy of linking UPMC’s clinicians and surgeons with the Swanson School’s engineering faculty.”

The Center for Medical Innovation at the Swanson School of Engineering is a collaboration among the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the Office of Technology Management (OTM), and the Coulter Translational Research Partnership II (CTRP). CMI was established in 2011 to promote the application and development of innovative biomedical technologies to clinical problems; to educate the next generation of innovators in cooperation with the schools of Engineering, Health Sciences, Business, and Law; and to facilitate the translation of innovative biomedical technologies into marketable products and services in cooperation with OTM and in partnership with CTRP.

Illustration:  Complete three-dimensional structure of MMP-9 composed of the catalytic, fibronectin, and hemopexins domains. (Assembled by superposing the crystallographic structures of the catalytic form PDB code: 4JIJ, fibronectin: 1L6J, linker: 4FVL and hemopexin: 1ITV).