Research Park News

September 27, 2016

Tymora receives $225,000 grant to advance prostate cancer research

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.  – Federal funding will help a Purdue-affiliated company research technology that could lead to a new way to distinguish aggressive forms of prostate cancer from indolent forms of the disease.

Tymora Analytical Operations has received a one-year STTR Phase I grant of $225,000 from the National Cancer Institute to develop an innovative phosphorylation analysis technology into commercial products. The National Cancer Institute is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Tymora licenses intellectual property discovered by W. Andy Tao through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. Tao is the company's chief scientific officer and a professor of biochemistry at Purdue. The company is based at Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette.

"Prostate cancer is one of the most over-treated forms of cancer," said Anton Iliuk, Tymora's chief technology officer. "You can detect it early without a problem. The problem becomes what to do with it. Do you wait it out or biopsy? In many cases, patients and doctors choose to treat it instead of waiting."

If it’s not aggressive, then it's wise to wait and check it regularly to see if there are changes instead of immediately resorting to chemotherapy or radiation treatment, according to Iliuk.

"Phosphorylation refers to an enzyme in the body which adds phosphates to proteins within cells," he said. "It acts as a trigger to actuate an event or deactivate changes within cells. Sometimes, the process of phosphorylation becomes misregulated, activating changes that should not be happening. Pretty much all known cancers and a lot of other diseases are linked to this misregulation."

Iliuk said prostate cancer can be classified by the types of phosphorylation cascades activated.

Company researchers are using a process called reverse phase protein array (RPPA), which takes extremely tiny amounts of biological samples to detect targeted proteins.

"What we've done is to modify RPPA to look at phosphorylation, which previously was difficult to do," Iliuk said.

Tymora is working to refine the process so it can be used by doctors, clinicians and other experts to look at phosphorylation in order to better differentiate aggressive prostate cancer from indolent forms. While the focus of this research is prostate cancer, Tymora researchers believe the process can be used for other types of cancer and a host of other diseases.

"It's important for people to get the care they need, not just the care that is currently available," Iliuk said. "We want to be sure the best possible progressive medicine is available."

About Tymora Analytical Operations

Tymora Analytical Operations was established in 2010 to provide new nanotechnology-based products to serve the R&D market in life sciences. Tymora has developed a nanoscale platform technology - with PolyMAC and pIMAGO as the lead products - for unmet needs in analysis of protein phosphorylation that relates to the onset of numerous diseases, most notably cancer.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue's intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park and Purdue Technology Centers. The foundation received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year by the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org 

Contact: Curt Slyder, 765-588-3342, caslyder@prf.org

Source: Anton Iliuk, 765-490-6834, anton.iliuk@tymore-analytical.com


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