Srinidi Mohan, Ph.D., associate professor in the University of New England School of Pharmacy, has received a second patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for his breakthrough methods and diagnostics for cancer detection and treatment monitoring, according to a UNE press release.

Mohan previously received his first U.S. Patent titled “Methods and Diagnostics for Cancer Detection and Treatment Monitoring.” The method uses a marker in the blood to detect the presence of highly aggressive tumors and to help track cancer growth.

Mohan found that the marker Nw-hydroxy-L-Arginine (NOHA) was both a sensitive and reliable indicator for estrogen receptor-negative (ER–) tumors, the most aggressive types of breast cancer, according to the release. Currently, no reliable blood-based marker exists for estrogen-negative breast tumor prognosis and/or disease monitoring.

In the second patent, Mohan shows NOHA predictive response in ovarian carcinoma based on ER expression status.

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological malignancy, the release states. About 230,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, of which around 150,000 women die annually. Symptoms for ovarian cancer are generally less evident (if not absent) at early stages and are often more noticeable as the cancer progresses. The exact causes of ovarian cancer are still unclear, but most of the risk factors are associated with the changes in levels of sex hormones during women’s lifetime. The estrogen receptor (ER) mediates the effects of sex hormones on proliferation of ovarian cancer cells.

While the association of ER expression status has a well-established prognostic and treatment-predictive role in breast cancer, its role in ovarian cancer is less defined. Thus, identification of prognostic and predictive factors based on ER expression status would be useful to better navigate diagnosis, treatment, and therapy management in ovarian cancer patients.


“I am both delighted and humbled with this opportunity to expand the scope of NOHA as a cancer biomarker,” Mohan said. “I look forward to the opportunity of NOHA biomarker implementation at a clinical setting. I sincerely thank the UNE administration and all my collaborators and advisors on their continued support and contributions to this project. I am also grateful to my UNE Pharm.D. student researchers for their help in the lab with this project.”

As principal investigator, Mohan conducted the research on the NOHA biomarker role in ovarian cancer with funding support from the UNE Office of Research and Scholarship and the School of Pharmacy.

Further development of this novel technology is being conducted in collaboration with physicians and researchers at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.

UNE has a campus in Biddeford.

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