The team aims to develop a non-invasive, molecular diagnostic tool for oral cancer. This novel diagnostic platform, PARPCytometry, aims to provide a cost-effective solution for diagnosing oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Another key innovation of the technology is that it can overcome the time delay that is typically associated with pathological evaluations. With this platform the team would be able to provide patients with a definitive, diagnostically accurate diagnosis at the point-of-care. The group has identified that PARPi-FL is a fluorescently labeled PARP inhibitor with high affinity and high specificity for its target has a high stability and accumulates in the nuclei of cancer cells within minutes, and is retained for several hours. PARP1 is highly overexpressed in oral cancers. They also found that PARP1 is highly overexpressed in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and oropharyngeal cancer compared to surrounding healthy tissues. The team is currently testing PARPi-FL. as a Phase I imaging agent at MSK (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT03085147). They are currently performing dose escalations and validation of the PARPCytometry platform. PARPi-FL can be used as a cell stain using freshly resected tissue specimen and a minimum number of tools. The team has developed procedures and simple staining protocols, which allow quick and quantitative analysis of PARP expression with flow cytometry.
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