In order to accurately treat and stage tumors, it is necessary to identify the current molecular alterations within the tumor DNA. However, repeated biopsies to uncover tumor DNA are problematic. For this reason, the capture and analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in blood would serve as a better method. ctDNA comes from DNA shed by apoptotic tumor cells. The current technical problem with ctDNA stems from the fact that, until late stages of cancer, ctDNA is present at very low levels in the blood, which makes its subsequent detection and analysis difficult with standard DNA isolation methods. Using biotinylated poly-lysine affixed to streptavidin coated magnetic nanoparticles can potentially have advantages over existing methods. The positive charge of the poly-lysine will attract negatively charged circulating DNA from the blood. The magnetic nanoparticles, with the circulating DNA, could then be easily trapped and used for upstream analysis without need for purification steps. This approach may result to a novel method for the collection of ctDNA from plasma.
CaNCURE provides trainees with a 6-month hands-on research experience and one-on-one mentoring by leading researchers in cancer nanomedicine. Projects performed by current and past participants include:
While on co-op, trainees document their research in an e-portfolio. This gives trainees the opportunity to provide regular updates on their research progress, reflect on training they are receiving, and explain how their research fits within the field of cancer nanomedicine. These research e-portfolios can be accessed through individual trainee profiles. The complete collection may be found here.
Presentation at CaNCURE Nanomedicine Day
At the completion of their co-op, trainees are provided with the opportunity to present their research to a wider audience. In our 1st annual CaNCURE Nanomedicine Day, trainees prepared interactive, digital posters to display on electronic poster boards. Over 100 faculty, students, and researchers attended our first event!
Check out the news article and congrats to all the poster winners!
Jordan Harris: Most Innovative Cancer Research Award
Jeremy Thong: Best Undergraduate Research Poster Award
Craig Pille: Most Promising Translational Research Award
Bryan Kynnap: Most Promising Basic Science Award
Jordan Harris: Top Chemical Engineering Poster Award