Biomedical Researchers Awarded Grant to Conduct Hematology Research

Paco Robles

Paco Robles

Innovative research teams and skilled professors consistently make groundbreaking contributions to the scientific world. Most recently, the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering achieved yet another significant breakthrough in hematology. Associate Professor Francisco Robles’ lab, Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy, has developed a state-of-the-art, point-of-care instrument that can revolutionize hematologic diagnosis and staging procedures.

Robles has been leading the research at Cellia Science, which recently received a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant. His research specializes in developing instruments that can assess the adequacy of bone marrow aspirates, revolutionizing hematologic diagnosis and staging procedures. A bone marrow aspirate involves removing a small amount of fluid from the bone marrow. This process is used to diagnose several conditions, including leukemia, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and anemia. Robles’ instrument uses UV imaging to improve the accuracy and precision in assessing aspirates' adequacy in real time.

Robles' expertise in nanotechnology has been instrumental in designing and developing the instrument. The bone marrow aspirate is the key to diagnosing and staging hematologic malignancies, and assessing its adequacy during the procedure is crucial. 

“My team, along with Dr. Aumann and Dr. Aljudi, has collaborated to explore the potential of deep UV microscopy in the field of hematology. We are thrilled to harness the capabilities of UV imaging for bone marrow aspirate adequacy screening, leveraging its unique attributes to tackle critical clinical challenges,” said Robles. “This process can be unreliable and inefficient, which is why the research is so important. Our aim is to make the bone marrow aspiration procedure more reliable and efficient.”

To ensure the widespread impact of this technology, Robles licensed his research under the Office of Technology Licensing, a division within the Office of Commercialization at Georgia Tech. Mary Albertson, director of the division, recognized that Robles’ research can improve the diagnosis and treatment of hematologic malignancies through commercialization of the science.

“The STTR grant from the government is a testament to the important work being done by Robles and his team,” she said. “The project’s potential to make a significant impact on the diagnosis and treatment of hematologic malignancies has been recognized by this grant.”

Robles disclosed his research through Georgia Tech's Office of Technology Licensing, which helped secure the necessary patents and licensing for the project. His research has opened the doors for a more reliable and efficient process. 

“As we move forward, we eagerly await further developments in this field,” Robles said. “Georgia Tech has always pushed the boundaries of research and development.”