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Andrew Wang and Jonathan Serody
 Andrew Wang, MD, and Jonathan Serody, MD, received a $2.09 million Research Opportunities Initiative grant to develop more effective personalized cancer vaccines.

The University of North Carolina System recently awarded UNC Lineberger’s Andrew Wang, MD, and Jonathan Serody, MD, a four year, $2.09 million Research Opportunities Initiative grant to support their research using pharmacoengineering approaches to develop more effective personalized cancer vaccines.

The grant was one of 15 awarded to scientists across the UNC System, with the specific intent to support inter-institutional research. The UNC System Research Opportunities Initiative is funded by the North Carolina General Assembly to promote innovative and important research projects within the UNC System that are strategically important to North Carolina.

“Harnessing a person’s immune system to fight their cancer has been a tremendous advancement in the care of cancer, but there is still much we can do to make these therapeutic approaches more effective,” said Wang, who is an associate professor of radiation oncology at the UNC School of Medicine. “Our research is focused on utilizing nanotechnology to develop cancer vaccines that are personalized and enable the immune system to attack the specific mutations that are driving a person’s cancer. Our challenge is to create an immune response that is both robust and safe.”

Wang and Serody, who is the Elizabeth Thomas Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology at the UNC School of Medicine, will be working in collaboration with a number of researchers in the UNC System, including UNC Lineberger’s Benjamin Vincent, MD, and Juan Vivero-Escoto, PhD, an associate professor in the Department Chemistry at UNC Charlotte. Zhen Gu, PhD, formerly of North Carolina State University, will serve as a consultant.