The Commonwealth Medical College Awaits Approval of Breakthrough Medical Patent

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Media contact:  Anne Green,
Manager of Marketing Communications
Office:  (570) 504-9687
Cell:  (570) 909-6220
[email protected]

The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) recently submitted its first medical research patent pending with the United States Patent and Trade Organization (USPTO). This accomplishment, only two months since the College received Preliminary Accreditation, demonstrates the College’s commitment to advancing medical research with innovations and solutions that will address the specific healthcare needs of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Sonia L. Planey, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry in the Basic Sciences Department at The Commonwealth Medical College is the principal investigator (PI) of the research group that has developed a new method for diagnosing Interstitial Cystitis (IC), a chronic inflammatory condition that occurs along the wall of the bladder. This painful syndrome affects in 1 in 500 people (mainly young and middle-aged women). Current tests are properly diagnosing less than 75% of cases. 

“This is an enormous undertaking and accomplishment for one of the newest, private, independent medical schools in the country,” stated Robert D’Alessandri, MD, President and Founding Dean of The Commonwealth Medical College. “To accomplish this so early in our history is testament to the advanced research capabilities and expertise of our nationally recognized researchers right here in Northeast Pennsylvania,” he added.

Dr. Planey and her research group have developed a test that can detect a small biomolecule in urine that is uniquely associated with Interstitial Cystitis (IC), which is a painful inflammation along the wall of the bladder.  This biomarker can be detected in as little as 30 minutes at a much lower cost to patients with no invasive procedures. A provisional patent is pending for their findings: Cell-Based Detection of APF for Diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis.  Dr. Planey will be working with OB/Gyn physicians in Northeastern Pennsylvania to determine the overall accuracy and effectiveness of the test in identifying patients with IC.

“By providing a new, safe and cost-efficient way for physicians to diagnose and treat this painful condition, we will improve the way healthcare is delivered in this region,” said Dr. Planey.

Background Information:  Dr. Planey’s research focuses on palmitolyation, signal transduction and cancer biology.  The primary focus of her research is on the signaling networks under the control of the ZDHHC2 gene that are important to cancer and bladder disease.

For a complete description of Dr. Planey’s research specialty and description, go to Http://

The Commonwealth Medical College is a new medical college opening in August 2009 and expects to accept sixty medical students and thirty Masters of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) students. The College has campuses in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport and currently has over 113 full time employees and over 557 clinical faculty members. For the academic years of 2009 and 2010, students will use temporary facilities on the Lackawanna College campus. The Commonwealth Medical College is dedicated to training the next generation of physicians in a community-based model. Focusing on selecting students with a propensity for community service, the school’s unique structure is designed to provide these students with diverse clinical experiences from the very first day of their education. For information please go to

The Commonwealth Medical College is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).