MU Partnership to Advance Development of Non-invasive Cancer Technology
The University of Missouri and a venture investment company last year agreed to a deal that will allow a trio of MU researchers to bring to market an important new method for detecting breast cancer in women.
The Massachusetts-based company, Allied Minds, specializes in early-stage investments based on university research. It will establish a faculty start-up company, LifeScreen, Inc., based on the breast cancer detection technology developed by the MU research scientists.
According to Ed Sauter, principal investigator for the project and a professor of surgical oncology, 99 percent of breast cancers in women form in the cells lining the milk ducts. Sauter's team retrieves potentially cancerous cells by extracting fluids from the breast with the assistance of a modified breast pump. Sauter and his collaborators are then able to search for two related carbohydrates in the fluid that, when present, almost always signal the presence of cancer.
The recent signing of a "memo of understanding" allows the University to license the technology to Allied Minds. In exchange, MU will gain equity in the newly formed company and royalties on sales when the product becomes commercially available. As the first step, Allied Minds will sponsor research at Mizzou to validate the original findings by Sauter and his research collaborators Tom Quinn, a professor of biochemistry and Sue Deutscher, an associate professor of biochemistry at MU.
"We are very excited to make this investment in a most promising and important technology," said Mark Pritchard, founder of Allied Minds. "We hope this is the first of many collaborations with Mizzou."