CHAPEL HILL, NC - A team of UNC scientists has received a five-year $2,308,800 grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnerships to address the critical need for early diagnosis of and more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer.
Wenbin Lin, PhD, professor of chemistry and pharmacy, and Jen Jen Yeh, MD, assistant professor of surgery and pharmacology, are the principal investigators. Leaf Huang, PhD, Fred N. Eshelman Distinguished Professor and chair of molecular pharmaceutics in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, is the co-investigator. All are members of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Lin is a faculty member in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences .
Using targeted nano-particle technology, based on nano-materials developed in the Lin lab, the scientists will design nanoscale metal-organic frameworks –a new class of hybrid nano-materials- capable of carrying both imaging and therapeutic cargoes or multiple drugs to increase therapeutic effect. The efficacy of these nano-materials will be evaluated in pre-clinical work by Yeh. Huang will help to modify the pharmcokinetics of the nano-materials.
“Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect early and to treat,” says Lin. “By developing a more targeted delivery system for imaging, we hope to be able to detect tumors earlier. And by using the hybrid nano-materials to deliver drugs directly to the tumor, we could lessen side effects for patients.Other institutions receiving Platform Partnerships are Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA; Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; Emory University in Atlanta, GA; Northeastern University in Boston, MA; Northwestern University in Evanston, IL; Rice University in Houston, TX; University of Cincinnati in OH; University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE; University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, NM; and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT.