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Product Improvement


A Rochester company is developing a high-sensitivity bioassay technology for early detection of a broad scope of diseases such as ovarian cancer. This technology modifies the chemistry used in the ELISA format bioassay protocol commonly used in medical test laboratories, without the need for any new equipment or capital expenditures. In a conventional Elisa assay, an antigen is detected using an antibody conjugated to an enzyme. A substance containing the enzyme’s corresponding substrate is added and the subsequent reaction produces a detectable signal, most commonly a color change in the substrate. In place of the enzyme catalyst used in conventional ELISA assays, the Rochester company uses a detection antibody conjugated to a nanoparticle-metal catalyst. This results in a high-gain chemical amplification reaction that generates a readable organic dye signal. It offers the potential to provide significantly increased medical diagnostic test sensitivity. In the first phase, CCMR enabled the company to work with a Cornell Chemistry expert who synthesized the reagents necessary to conduct the assay. In a follow-up project, the company used CCMR’s high-resolution transmission electron microscope to study the size and detailed structure of the polymer nanoparticles, which contain the metal catalyst necessary for the signal amplification reaction.

A NYS business develops hearing protection and headphone devices. The company benefited from the help of two Cornell experts and from CCMR matching funds to develop a test method for evaluating new and existing foam ear cuffs used on its products. A test fixture was built specifically to perform strength and air leakage testing. A subsequent project enabled the company to identify new cuff materials and design changes that will increase long-term comfort and performance for their hearing protection device.

In collaboration with the CCMR, a hand-decorated cookie company based in Syracuse has doubled its production after developing a fast-drying frosting. Within four months of partnering with a Cornell food science professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the company reduced the drying time of its frosting from two days to four hours, allowing it to ramp up production of its baked goods from 3,000 to 25,000 cookies a day without having to relocate to a new facility. Its customer list now includes Target, Walgreens, and Costco. With the recently received SQF Level 2 certification, one of the toughest food safety certifications, the company is now ready to sell globally.

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