Design and Characterization of Polyvalent Nanotherapeutics

Polyvalent Nanotechnology has the potential to deliver therapeutic agents for enhancing treatment outcome while reducing morbidity. This could dramatically improve treatment responses in several diseases including infectious diseases and especially cancer where the survival statistics have been, so far, dismal. Treatment specificity can be improved by using remotely triggered therapeutic modalities like photodynamic therapy, which involves the use of light to cause cell death. Nanotechnology also enables a novel approach to combination therapies by allowing target specific, intracellular delivery of multiple agents for rational mechanism-based combinations that can further enhance treatment outcome. Nano-chemoprevention, which involves use of nanoparticles for delivery of chemopreventive agents, is an emerging field that has shown some promise for cancer prevention. Although still in its infancy, nanomedicine, which refers to the use of nanotechnology for biomedical applications, has already made an impact in the clinic. Translational nanomedicine is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field and in this talk I’ll focus on the synthesis, characterization and preclinical testing of nanoparticles that could be potentially used for the prevention and treatment of cancer.

RaiPrakash Rai, Ph.D., joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at UML in 2012 as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. Prior to this he was an Instructor at the Center for Engineering in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Rai is currently working on developing translational nanotechnology-based platforms for imaging, prevention and treatment of breast cancer. His research involves designing, synthesizing, characterizing, and evaluating the efficacy of these nano-platforms in cell culture, as well as animal models of the disease. Dr. Rai has several first author publications in journals including Nature Biotechnology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Angewandte Chemie, and Cancer Research. In 2010, Dr. Rai was chosen to receive the “Scholar in Training” award by the American Association of Cancer Research. Dr. Rai received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Mumbai, India in 2003 and his Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2007. Recently he received a grant award from the National Cancer institute to carry out research in the area of cancer nanomedicine.