Quanterix Corporation, a company digitizing biomarker analysis to advance the science of precision health, today announced Shelli Kesler, Ph.D., and Ashley Henneghan, Ph.D., MSN, from the School of Nursing at the University of Texas at Austin, as the winners of its annual Accelerator Grant Program for their research proposal, “Neurodegenerative and Inflammatory Predictors of Cancer Related Cognitive Impairment in Breast Cancer Patients.” As recipients of the grant, Quanterix will award $50,000 toward the cost of their research in the company’s Accelerator Lab using Quanterix’ ultrasensitive Simoa technology.
The Accelerator Grant Program is designed to help facilitate breakthroughs in science and medicine, and this was the most competitive selection process we’ve seen with a higher-than-anticipated number of proposals from prominent organizations and institutions around the world focused on oncology research. We are proud to play a role in advancing the efforts of Drs. Kesler and Henneghan to prospectively evaluate predictive biomarkers of neurodegeneration, neurological injury and inflammation in relation to cognitive functioning and brain connectivity in a cohort of breast cancer survivors and healthy controls for the first time.”
Kevin Hrusovsky, Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of Quanterix
Drs. Kesler and Henneghan are working to provide a way to evaluate neurotoxic effect of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients by measuring neuro biomarkers and inflammation markers to predict cognitive impairment due to chemotherapy. By analyzing proteins, adjustments to treatments can be made accordingly based on potential cognitive impairment.
Drs. Kesler and Henneghan have a long-term collaboration including funded projects involving peripheral biomarkers and cognitive-behavioral outcomes in patients with breast cancer. As a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, Dr. Kesler has expertise in cognitive neuroimaging research, which provides advanced statistical analysis of neuroimaging data with a focus on measures of functional and structural connectivity, including the application of graph theoretical analyses (connectomics) and machine learning. As an Assistant Professor, Dr. Henneghan has expertise in biomarkers associated with cancer-related cognitive impairment and has recently worked with the Accelerator Lab to run the Neuroplex-3 on samples from another study.
We are thrilled to receive the Accelerator grant, whose funds will aid our efforts in moving the science of cancer-related cognitive impairment forward by utilizing the latest technology for biomarker assessment. The ability to measure neurodegenerative biomarkers from peripheral blood is both cost effective and minimally invasive for our study participants. We are excited to incorporate these methods into our team’s research at UT Austin School of Nursing and hope to provide novel insights on the mechanisms of this adverse treatment effect.”
Dr. Henneghan, Assistant Professor
Quanterix’ state-of-the-art Accelerator Lab is a dedicated CLIA-certified laboratory environment for custom assay development and clinical sample testing. Staffed with a large team of scientists dedicated exclusively to Accelerator projects, to which grant recipients will also have access, the Lab offers some of the greatest ultra-sensitive assay development and instrument operation experiences available. Since its launch in 2014, the Lab has powered considerable advancements in disease detection and drug development, helping researchers obtain quick, robust data that would otherwise take more time and added resources.
“Drs. Kesler and Henneghan captivated our team with their proposal focused on neurodegeneration and cognitive functioning among breast cancer survivors,” continued Hrusovsky. “Their application is truly innovative and we look forward to watching as they conduct this groundbreaking research through the Accelerator Grant Program with the science of Simoa.”