Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Commercialisation opportunities

One of the key remits of the Centre is to increase commercialisation opportunities of research outputs. To this end we work closely with the RCSI Technology Transfer Office in the following areas:

Systems Modelling

ALISSA- Automated Live-Cell Imaging System forSignal Transduction Analysis

  • Microscopyof living cells is heavily employed in biomedicine to understand the mechanisms of disease progression and to develop novel pharmaceuticals. Inparticular, confocal microscopy which relies on laser-based excitation of fluorescent cellular biomarkers is frequently used for understanding molecular actions of therapeutic drugs to abnormal cells. However, prolonged exposure to highly energetic laser radiation often leads to light induced cell death before any spontaneous effects can occur - an effect known as phototoxicity.
  • To address this problem we have developed an automated live-cell imaging system ALISSA which employs online image processing and analysis to automatically detect biological events and then trigger appropriate changes in the image acquisition settings.
  • This way we minimize the photo-toxicity, obtain higher quality of the imaging data and minimize direct user involvement by introducing more automation to the whole experimental process. So far, ALISSA has been used in studies on cancer cells and neurons at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and it is currently under development aimed towards applications in commercial high content screening systems.
  • Patent has been filed and granted both in Ireland and United Staes titled "Microscopy control system and method". Inventors: Heinrich Huber, Jakub Wenus, Heiko Duessmann, Dimitris Kalamatianos, Maximillian Wuerstle.

Siemens

  • Since 2005 a long-standing collaboration with Siemens (Siemens Ireland, Siemens Austria) collaboration has been established with the Director, Prof. Jochen Prehn and Dr. Heinrich Huber
  • Collaboration focuses on the implementation of software tools and work flow solutions for diagnostic laboratories
  • The collaboration has brought essential computational approaches to the CHP-MSB and has aided us in the analysis of biological networks with the aim in the future to identify new targets for future therapies.

Colorectal Cancer

  • In a large, 4-year study at the RCSI Centre for Human Proteomics identified the autoantibody profile in colorectal cancer patients using protein array technology.
  • An individual analysis of the autoantibody signature was performed using serum from 83 subjects and protein arrays expressing more than 12.000 non-redundant proteins.
  • Data analysis of the individual responses from 43 colorectal cancer patients and 40 non-cancer controls identified 18 antigens that were significantly associated with colorectal cancer status (biomarkers) and 4 antigens associated with non-cancer controls (‘anti-markers').
  • Further analysis resulted in a subset of 12 antigens which discriminated between the 43 colorectal cancer patients and the 40 non-cancer control subjects with a specificity of 80.0% and a sensitivity of 83.7%. This compared extremely favourable to any other serum or blood-based testing method available.
  • Through our knowledge of the antibodies present in the blood of colorectal cancer patients, the  current aim of this project is the development of a highly sensitive, minimally invasive blood test that could be used for the detection of colorectal cancer,  and allow for prioritization of those patients in need of colonoscopy. Ultimately, the use of this test for the early diagnosis of CRC would greatly reduce the need for colonoscopies.
  • Work performed on this project has been generously supported by  grants from Science Foundation Ireland, Health Executive Authority, Enterprise Ireland and the Health Research Board.

Angio-Tox- Lead Applicant: Dr Annette Byrne

  • AngioTox is an EU FP7-funded Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) project integrating expertise in biomarker discovery, histopathology, multi-modality in vivo imaging and automated image analysis.
  • The AngioTox Consortium was established in 2010 to mechanistically assess the toxicities associated with the use of angiogenesis inhibitors for the treatment of cancer.
  • The ultimate goal of this consortium is to identify an AngioTox Safety Panel of toxicologic markers to facilitate improved screening of angiogenesis inhibitor toxicologic parameters, inform clinical drug dosing regimens, facilitate the development of more specific and potent angiogenesis inhibitors and significantly improve patient care. 
  •  For further information on this project please see www.angiotox.com