An emerging method for targeting drugs to disease areas is to exploit the local changes that occur due to disease pathology and use these changes as triggers to improve targeting. This is accomplished by developing stimuli-responsive materials that change their physicochemical or drug-release properties upon encountering specific environmental cues, potentially leading to increased drug delivery to diseased tissues. These environmental cues may include low pH, inflammation, the presence of certain unique enzymes, and the reducing environment of endosomes. It may be possible to improve nanoparticle (NP) targeting to sites of disease by causing changes in NP surface properties at the target sites. In addition, the design of nanoparticles that can be internalized by endocytosis and thus release their active drugs inside subcellular organelles can be used to overcome multidrug resistance in cancer cells. In this project we develop surface switching NPs that can target first prostate cancer cells using a small molecule ligand and then the mitochondria specifically following endocytosis and endosomal release using a mitochondrial targeting peptide. This system would then be able to deliver its drug, which promotes pro-apoptosis signaling factors, directly to the mitochondria of the cell and create an efficient anti-cancer treatment.
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