A High-Throughput Assay for Detection and Monitoring of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Water Sources

This technology describes a high-throughput, fluorescence-based method to detect endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in water sources.

There is growing awareness that a wide variety of synthetic and natural compounds that may lead to adverse health effects are present in water sources, such as streams, wells, and ground water; however, these compounds are often difficult to measure and thus are not commonly monitored. Even low concentrations of these compounds are of concern, as they may have biological effects at concentrations of parts per billion (PPB) or less. The presence of EDCs in the environment, in particular, is under examination for potential adverse effects on human health and on wildlife, such as cancer, immune suppression, impaired fertility, and increased incidence of diabetes and obesity.

Inventors at NCI have discovered a novel assay methodology for detecting endocrine EDCs in contaminated water. The assay utilizes fluorescently-labeled nuclear receptors in a high-throughput, cell-based format, and has the capability to detect very low concentrations of EDCs in water or other liquid samples. The inventors have already demonstrated proof of concept for this technology by using this assay to test for the presence of glucocorticoid and androgen receptor disruptors in water samples from 14 U.S. states, and also plan future studies for other types of EDCs. A product or service based on this technology could fulfill an unmet need for a high-throughput, rapid method for screening water samples for contaminants with potential endocrine-disrupting effects.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
Product or service for screening and detection of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in samples from water sources and waste water.  
  • Rapid results - one day or less from sample retrieval to result
  • Detects very low concentrations of EDCs
  • Readily adaptable for use with a variety of endocrine receptor targets
  • High-throughput format allows testing of many samples at once, with multiple types of endocrine receptor targets
  • Tests for activity rather than a specific chemical, therefore can detect many variants modified in the environment

Gordon Hager (NCI)
Diana Stavreva (NCI)

Intellectual Property:
US Application No. 61/656,473
PCT Application No. PCT/US2013/044569
US Application No. 13/912,071

Collaboration Opportunity:

The NCI Laboratory of Receptor Biology & Gene Expression is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize Detection and Monitoring of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Water Sources. For collaboration opportunities, please contact John Hewes, Ph.D. at hewesj@mail.nih.gov. Click here to view the NCI collaborative opportunity announcement.

Licensing Contact:
Vince Contreras , Ph.D.
NIH Office of Technology Transfer
Email: vincent.contreras@nih.gov
Phone: 301-435-4711

OTT Reference No: E-269-2011/0

Updated: Feb-21-2013