UCSB Chemical Engineering professor Patrick Daugherty is using jellyfish proteins to figure out when cancerous tumors will metastasize. By pairing proteins responsible for the bioluminescent quality of jellyfish with indicator molecules, his team has managed to color-code tissue samples based on the presence of protease, an enzyme that “cuts” up tumors and causes them to grow or send the separated portions to other parts of the body via the bloodstream. Daugherty hopes that his work will lead to diagnostic techniques that can help doctors decide what type of therapy to apply to an individual’s cancerous tumor.


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