Fulbright scholar will study next-generation cancer detection

Prashanta-DuttaPULLMAN, Wash. – Prashanta Dutta has received a Fulbright Scholar grant for 2016-17 to study and develop next-generation tumor cell detection in cancer patients.

A professor in the Washington State University School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Dutta will collaborate with colleagues at the Center for Smart Interfaces at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, to develop advanced theoretical and computational models to separate and detect circulating tumor cells.

These cells spread cancer to other organs from an initial tumor – the primary cause of death in cancer patients. Dutta’s technology will aid in early detection of these cells, which is key to successful treatment and recovery.

Dutta’s system uses an electric field generated through a chemistry technique called isotachophoresis to separate cancer cells from healthy cells. He hopes the process will be a streamlined, simple and reliable alternative to the meticulous, difficult electrode method now used.

The Fulbright program was founded by U.S. Sen. J William Fulbright in 1946 to increase mutual understanding among scholars around the world.

With Washington State University since 2001, Dutta is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He studies transport processes in mechanical, chemical, thermal, electrochemical and biological systems.