USF Research News

USF researcher’s technology selected to present at prestigious University Research and Entrepreneurship Symposium

March 19, 2013
USF's Technology Transfer Office to present business case for invention.

By Lauren Golin
USF Research News

TAMPA, Fla.—The University of South Florida’s promising ovarian cancer screening research has been selected to be presented at 2013 University Research and Entrepreneurship Symposium (URES).

The USF Technology Transfer Office will present a business case for Dr. Patricia Kruk’s technology, which was one of 30 technologies chosen to present at the invitation-only one-day conference being held on April 3, 2013, at The Microsoft New England Research & Development Center in Cambridge, Mass.

The URES conference was established to bring world-class technologies from universities to Boston to showcase them before a group of New England’s top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. This year’s event will feature breakthrough technologies in three focus areas—information technology, deep technology and life sciences. The symposium has been designed to explore the challenges and opportunities faced by university-based entrepreneurs that are commercializing university-owned technology or starting companies while at the same time exposing New England’s top venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to leading research universities beyond the Boston area.

While studying molecular changes responsible for early stages of ovarian cancer, Kruk, a professor of medicine at USF, found that the level of a protein in urine called Bcl-2 is ten times higher in women with ovarian cancer than it is in healthy women. The USF Technology Transfer Office is working with Kruk and serial entrepreneurs to protect and commercialize the invention.

Ovarian cancer is a deadly disease with vague symptoms, and currently there is no non-invasive screening to detect ovarian cancer, particularly in the earlier stages. There are more than 22,000 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year, and one in 71 women will develop the disease in their lifetime. Kruk has developed a simple, more sensitive dipstick screening test for ovarian cancer measuring the urinary levels of Bcl-2, and her urine assay is the only non-invasive ovarian cancer diagnostic in development right now. Her innovative technology has been patented in the United States and Europe with additional patents pending internationally.

“By exploiting elevated urinary Bcl-2 levels among patients with ovarian cancer, we can significantly impact a horrific disease that kills thousands of women annually,” said Kruk.

URES is presented by three leading venture capital firms: Flybridge Capital Partners, Atlas Venture, and General Catalyst Partners along with sponsor Goodwin Procter and partner organizations NCET2 and Microsoft New England Research and Development Center. Over the past 5 years, 110 projects nearly 40 universities—including Boston University, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, NYU, Purdue, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Tufts, UCLA, University of Kansas, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin, and Yale—have presented to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists at the event resulting in 13 companies receiving nearly $100 million in funding to date.

Lauren Golin can be reached at lgolin@usf.edu.