Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence for Translational Diagnostics

NCI U54 - Principal Investigators: Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD: Shan X. Wang, PhD

The Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence for Translational Diagnostics (CCNE-TD) is a consortium composed of a highly interdisciplinary team of scientists whose expertise areas are synergistic and have a long collaboration history (the first CCNE cycle was funded in 2006). The CCNE-TD has two focus areas: 1) predicting and monitoring cancer therapy response in lung cancer and 2) merging nano-based in vitro diagnostics with nano-based imaging for earlier cancer detection and prognostication of prostate cancer.

CCNE-TD investigators will utilize nanotechnology to measure changes in cancer patterns via 1) magneto-nanosensors that can measure changes in serum and other bodily fluids, and 2) imaging using cancer-triggered-self-assembling and disassembling nanoparticles. Our nanotechnologies will be used to interrogate single cells for DNA, RNA, proteins, and micro- or nanovesicles to discover and validate potential biomarkers. We will also develop novel nano-based imaging technologies (e.g., nanobubble enhanced ultrasound imaging) to image cell-associated proteins in small animal models and clinically translate these technologies for human prostate cancer imaging.

CCNE-TD has two technological arms: 1) in vitro genomic/proteomic/cellomic nanosensors, and 2) in vivo molecular imaging using gold-based, nanobubble-based, and self-assembling and disassembling nanoparticles. The latter arm is directly focused on molecular imaging of specific cellular protein targets. It is the goal of the CCNE-TD to help identify these targets for specific cancers (lung and prostate) and to utilize these targets as ways to home in on cancer cells. Our new class of nanoparticles that can self-assemble intracellularly in conjunction with our advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) expertise, is expected to directly impact the development of medical imaging modalities for clinical translation. With our highly interactive program focused on developing and validating nanotechnology for earlier cancer detection, prognostication, and therapy response monitoring, we will imagine, invent, and innovate for the benefit of cancer patients.