1) FLOWER is After Ovarian Cancer Detection

Date Published: June 9, 2023

Ovarian cancer can be extremely dangerous and difficult to detect in its early stages—putting the patient at significant risk of developing life-threatening cancer. According to the American Cancer Society in the USA in 2023, approximately 19,710 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 13,270 women will die from ovarian cancer (more). However, Prof. Judy Su’s work into FLOWER (frequency locked optical whispering evanescent resonator) is unlocking new possibilities for early detection of ovarian cancer before symptoms have even presented—meaning that many women can begin to receive treatment before the cancer has become severe. In Su’s recent paper, “An Integrated Approach to Protein Discovery and Detection From Complex Biofluids” Prof. Su discusses how the technology can sample items from the vaginal environment (a tampon, even) to detect proximal sources for tumor detection. This enables a proactive method for identifying ovarian cancer in patients with little to no risk—something that has the potential to become part of standard health tests that is less invasive than a pap smear. More about Prof. Su's work.

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Judy Su Research

Artist Representation of FLOWER and its application for detecting ovarian cancer. Mass spectrometry proteomics uncovers potential biomarkers in high grade serous ovarian cancer with the aim of identifying and detecting disease prior to physical presentation of symptoms. Microtoroids, highlighted in this image, allow for extremely sensitive detection of specific biomolecules at their surface and were used to sense cystatin A from vaginal lavages and tampons.