Renal Cell Carcinoma Test


About Us

We are a group of three bioengineering students (Pin-hsi Chen, Jamie Dieckman, and David Narel) at University of California, Santa Cruz. Currently, we are designing an urine assay to detect Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC). This assay functions very similarly to a pregnancy test; users apply a couple drops of urine and quickly visualize the results. If you are interested in supporting our work, there is a gofundme link in the Navigation Section!

Renal Cell Carcinoma

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2015, the US will have 61,560 new cases of Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) and 14,080 consequent deaths1. However, early detection of the disease can reduce invasive nephrectomy, cost, hospitalization, and complications while inducing faster recovery2. Hence, we propose to create a colorimetric biosensor that can rapidly detect RCC via a urine test; this functions like a pregnancy test.

In a study done by Morrissey et. al, two proteins (Urine AQP1 and PLIN2) have been shown to be specific biomarkers that can detect RCC2. To create this biosensor, we plan to conjugate AQP1 and PLIN2 antibodies to gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), which will then become a part of a lateral flow assay. If our conjugated AuNPs bind AQP1 and PLIN2 proteins in urine, red particles will turn into two pale blue/purple bands. Users can directly apply their urine samples and instantly get visual results. This is useful because current detection of the illness rely on CT scans, MRI scans, or Western blots, which is expensive and time consuming1.


1. Cancer of the Kidney and Renal Pelvis - SEER Stat Fact Sheets. at

2. Morrissey, J. J. et al. Evaluation of Urine Aquaporin-1 and Perilipin-2 Concentrations as Biomarkers to Screen for Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Prospective Cohort Study. JAMA Oncol. 1, 204–212 (2015).