Karen Burg, director if the Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering, works in a lab on campus.

Karen Burg, director of the Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering, works in a lab on campus.

CLEMSON — The Avon Foundation for Women has again awarded the Clemson University Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering (IBIOE) a grant for medical research.

The institute will receive $150,000 from the foundation to develop an easy-to-use diagnostic test that can both predict breast cancer risk and monitor changes in breast cancer over time.

Clemson is one of six universities or hospitals to receive grants from the foundation. The recipients were named in Charlotte following this year’s Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

Avon Walk Charlotte raised $1.65 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer.

Karen Burg, the Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering director and Hunter Endowed Chair of Bioengineering, said the foundation’s grants will help accelerate advances in research and healthcare.

“The Avon Foundation for Women not only raises awareness of this terrible disease, it also leads the way in funding research programs such as IBIOE’s,” Burg said.

Clemson researchers develop engineered tissues that can be used for diagnostic purposes.

Three-dimensional tissue systems are built in a laboratory using cells and plastic “scaffolds” to construct particular aspects of living tissue. Tissue systems are built and “personalized” using cells from an individual, therefore developing vaccines and therapies that are specific to the individual.

The goal is to predict if patients will react positively to particular therapies by building tissue systems out of their cells and applying the therapies. These three-dimensional tissue models provide additional information for clinicians or scientists that cannot be gleaned from traditional two-dimensional cell culture systems.

This is the third time the Avon foundation has awarded a grant to the Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering. In 2009, the institute received $195,000, and in 2011 it received $150,000.