NCI Awards $7 Million to Georgia Researchers for Nanotechnology Partnership
As part of its ongoing efforts to accelerate the use of nanotechnology in cancer, NCI recently awarded a $7.1 million, 5-year grant to establish a collaborative, multidisciplinary partnership of academic and private sector research that will develop a new class of nanoparticles for molecular and cellular imaging. The goal of this Bioengineering Research Partnership is to develop biomedical nanotechnology, biomolecular engineering, and bioinformatics tools for identifying biomarkers for cancer and to use them to better understand cancer behavior and its relationship to clinical outcomes. The proposed research is broadly applicable to many types of malignant tumors, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and lymphoma, but a particular focus will be placed on the biological behavior of human prostate cancer.
"This new award will enable a powerful, nanotechnology-focused collaboration involving academia, private industry, and one of our cancer centers," said NCI Director Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach. "It is this type of alliance that will allow us to leverage the strengths of each sector to speed the development and application of nanotechnology-based tools to more accurately diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer."
The partnership's lead investigator, Dr. Shuming Nie, director of cancer nanotechnology at Emory University, is a long-time NCI grantee. He and his colleagues at Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology have pioneered the development of quantum dots, nanometer-size semiconductor particles that can be used to "tag" virtually any biological molecule and study its behavior in living cells and organisms.
In this new initiative, Dr. Nie will partner with investigators from seven academic and clinical laboratories representing broad expertise in bioengineering, bioinformatics, tumor biology, bioanalytical chemistry, systems biology, oncology, pathology, and urology. In addition, private sector partner Cambridge Research and Instrumentation (CRI), based in Woburn, Mass., will contribute expertise in high-performance in vivo imaging.
The Bioengineering Research Partnership includes faculty from the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory; Emory's Winship Cancer Institute; the Departments of Urology, Radiation Oncology, and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine; and scientists at CRI.