An Inexpensive, Point-of-Care Urine Test for Bladder Cancer in Patients Undergoing Hematuria Evaluation

Abhinav P. Acharya, Kathryn M. Theisen, Andres Correa, Thiagarajan Meyyappan, Abraham Apfel, Tao Sun, Tatum V. Tarin, Steven R. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Although hematuria (blood in urine) is the most common symptom of bladder cancer, 70–98% of hematuria cases are benign. These hematuria patients unnecessarily undergo costly, invasive, and expensive evaluation for bladder cancer. Therefore, there remains a need for noninvasive office-based tests that can rapidly and reliably rule out bladder cancer in patients undergoing hematuria evaluation. Herein, a clinical assay for matrix metalloproteinases (“Ammps”) is presented, which generates a visual signal based on the collagenase activity (in urine of patients) on the Ammps substrates. Ammps substrates are generated by crosslinking gelatin with Fe(II) chelated alginate nanoparticles, which precipitate in urine samples. The cleavage of gelatin-conjugated alginate (Fe(II)) nanoparticles by collagenases generates free-floating alginate (Fe(II)) nanoparticles that participate in Fenton's reaction to generate a visual signal. In a pilot study of 88 patients, Ammps had 100% sensitivity, 85% specificity, and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 100% for diagnosing bladder cancer. This high NPV can be useful in ruling out bladder cancer in patients referred for hematuria evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1700808
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 22 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • MMPs
  • bladder cancer
  • cost-effective
  • diagnostics
  • urine test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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