Washington University St. Louis (WUSTL)
The Washington University of St. Louis School of Medicine received $16 million from The National Cancer Institute to suport the Siteman Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (SCCNE). Due for completion in 2006, SCCNE plans to focus on applied nano-research for cancer drug therapies and diagnostics.Reserachers at Washington University are focused on unlocking nanotechnology's advantages over traditional medical treatment and surgical techniques for diagnosing, treatment and recovery from cancer tumors.
In laboratory tests at the university in 2006, one very low dose of a drug in nanoparticles was enough to show an effect on notoriously tenacious artery-clogging plaques. "This is the first time we've demonstrated that the nanoparticles can also deliver a drug to a disease site in a living organism," says Patrick Winter, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine. "After a single dose in laboratory rabbits, fumagillin nanoparticles markedly reduced the growth of new blood vessels that feed plaques."
Nanotechnology techniques can provide more accurate visualization and characterization of tumors, revealing even tiny tumors in medical scans. It has the ability to focus chemotherapeutic drugs exclusively at tumor sites to alleviate unpleasant or risky side effects. And it offers more precise adaptation of treatment to the biochemical and molecular features of each patient's disease.
BREAST CANCER DETECTION
In addition to developing general oncology applications, the SCCNE will focus its efforts on breast cancer and melanoma detection and treatment. Some projects planned for the Center include targeting of multiple tumors for early detection of cancer, a nanoparticle-based contrast agent for ultrasound imaging and therapy of tumors, statistical tools to model the behavior of nanoparticles in the body and novel nano-scale sensors for rapidly screening potential anticancer drugs in single cells.
The Nanoelectronics Laboratory in the School of Engineering and Applied Science conducts research on the electronic properties and device applications of novel materials such as the carbon or boron nitride nanotubes. Recent advances in the synthesis of these nanotubes with a diameter on the nm-scale, yet hundreds of microns in length, bear high promise for the application of these materials in next-generation electronic nanodevices.
Washington University nanoscience projects in the Nanoelectroncis Laboatory currently include: