CA19-9 is an antigen overexpressed in roughly 80% of carcinogenic pancreases. It is shed at high levels by afflicted cells and is present in blood, serum, and urine of 80% of pancreatic cancer patients. This protein is currently the most used marker for pancreatic cancer in blood and serum tests. Current testing method requires patients to undergo a $150-200 blood test which monitors the concentration of CA19-9 as often as biweekly. On top of medication, hospital stays, and other expenses, this monitoring procedure seemed outdated, intrusive, and needlessly expensive to us. Thus, we set out to design an ultra-low cost, non-intrusive testing system to replace it. The innovative side to this design lies in the materials used to construct it; to limit cost, we salvaged unused coffee filters and scraps of laminated paper for use in what would become an incredibly promising “strip-based” testing method for cancer; the design mimics a pregnancy test on the surface. Our final prototype utilized a “sandwich ELISA” method, in which detection was determined using an anti-human detection antibody and a secondary antibody conjugated to alkaline phosphatase, a reagent which reacts to form a dark purple color in the presence of matching proteins, which in this case was CA19-9. Our initial goal, to decrease cost for cancer patients, was achieved at a degree which exceeded our expectations; a single testing strip costs just under $3.50 to produce, a price decrease of 5400% at break-even (non-bulk, unoptimized prototypic cost).
Categories 2018 CES Entries
School Riverside High School
Location Leesburg, VA
Creator/Age Sean Murphy, 17
Creator/Age Karthikeya Kudum, 17