GradImpact: Developing a Breakthrough for Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer

    Two graduate students at North Dakota State University have invented a test that could the change lives of pancreatic cancer patients. James Froberg (doctoral candidate in physics) and Fataneh Karandish (doctoral candidate in pharmaceutical sciences) created the test using a computer chip that requires a single drop of blood to detect pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest and most difficult forms of cancer to diagnose. The five-year survival rate is about 7% and a lack of early symptoms makes it very hard to detect.


    Froberg and Karandish developed a microchip that uses nanotechnology to respond to the presence of pancreatic cancer cells in the blood. When electric current runs through the blood sample, the intensity decreases when cancer cells are detected. The two doctoral students recently won a $5,000 award for their finding in NDSU's Innovation Challenge, a student entrepreneurial competition. Forberg and Karandish are also part of the Center for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Strategies in Pancreatic Cancer, a broader team on campus focused on cutting-edge research to develop early detection and protocols for pancreatic cancer.


    Froberg and Karandish’s innovation has the potential to revolutionize the future of cancer detection and treatment. Its simplicity and cost-effectiveness lend itself to at-home early diagnostic kits and could eventually be modified to detect other types cancer. To learn more about James and Fataneh’s work, visit the North Dakota State University website.



    **Photo Credit: North Dakota State University


    The CGS GRADIMPACT project draws from member examples to tell the larger story of graduate education. Our goal is to demonstrate the importance of graduate education not only to degree holders, but also to the communities where we live and work. Do you have a great story to share about the impact of master’s or doctoral education? Visit our WEBSITE for more information.


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