Huflejt - New York University

Principal Investigator: Margaret Huflejt, Ph.D.
Institution: New York University, New York, NY

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This laboratory's research is dedicated to the development and clinical validation of serum-based diagnostic tests for early detection of cancer and cancer risk.

Aberrant glycosylation of proteins and lipids during malignant transformation results in the appearance of specific glycan structures known as Tumor-Associated Carbohydrate Antigens (TACAs) on cell surfaces and in the blood. Dr. Huflejt has demonstrated that antibodies against TACAs can be detected in sera of patients with all stages of malignancies, as well as in sera of patients with premalignant diseases. Based on a printed glycan array engineered in the Consortium for Functional Glycomics that allows simultaneous detection of multiple serum anti-glycan antibodies, Dr. Huflejt's laboratory developed a version of the printed glycan array that is optimized and standardized for translational and pre-clinical research applications.

This team of investigators, which includes glycobiologists, oncologists, mathematicians and chemists, is using their printed glycan array to profile serum anti-glycan antibodies in large population-based studies with the specific aims to identify and validate anti-glycan antibody-based signatures of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), mesothelioma, melanoma, and ovarian and breast cancers. A special focus is on anti-glycan antibody-based signatures of in situ pre-invasive cancers and other critical stages of malignant transformation, such as cancer recurrence and metastasis. Other goals are to identify, isolate and/or synthesize, and perform preliminary testing of novel tumor-associated glycans in serum and cellular materials for use as cancer-diagnostic antigens.

Research is based at the Bellevue Thoracic Surgery Laboratory of New York University, School of Medicine led by Dr. Harvey I. Pass, a Co-Investigator on this study. After the recent addition of new compounds, the NYU SoM library includes 296 synthetic glycans that underwent special purification processes required for their diagnostic applications. The glycans have been synthesized by the team of glyco-chemists led by collaborator Dr. Nicolai V. Bovin, head of the Carbohydrate Chemistry Laboratory of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russia). The PGA-dedicated mathematical data processing tools and computational approaches developed by Dr. Marko I. Vuskovic (San Diego State University, San Diego, CA), a Co-Investigator on this project have already delivered putative signatures of mesothelioma and lung, breast and ovarian cancers. Validation studies of selected diagnostic signatures in large population-based cohorts are under development.


Provisional application: Methods, Assays and Kits For Cancer Diagnosis and Screening Utilizing Glycan- Binding and Glycan Epitopes. Inventors: M.E. Huflejt and M.I. Vuskovic; Filed: May 2009. (serial# 12/387,457)

Provisional Application: System, Method and Computer-Accessible Medium for Evaluating a Malignancy Status in At-Risk Populations and During Patient Treatment Management. Inventors: M.I. Vuskovic, M.E. Huflejt H.I. Pass; Filed: March 2010. (serial# 61/318,144)