|National Cancer Institute Awards $26.3 Million to Establish
Seven Centers of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH), today announced the implementation of a major component of its $144.3
million five-year initiative for nanotechnology in cancer research. First year
awards totaling $26.3 million will help establish seven Centers of Cancer Nanotechnology
“We believe that nanotechnology will have a transformative effect on cancer
diagnosis and treatment. In fact, its impact is already visible in the research
being conducted through many of the centers we are announcing today,” said Andrew
von Eschenbach, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute. “Through the
applications of nanotechnology, we will increase the rate of progress towards
eliminating the suffering and death due to cancer.”
Nanotechnology, the development and engineering of devices so small that they
are measured on a molecular scale, has demonstrated promising results in cancer
research and treatment. NCI launched the plan to create the NCI Alliance for
Nanotechnology in Cancer in September 2004, as a comprehensive, integrated initiative
to develop and translate cancer-related nanotechnology research into clinical
NCI’s Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer encompasses four major program
components, including the CCNEs. CCNEs are multi-institutional hubs that will
focus on integrating nanotechnology into basic and applied cancer research and
provide new solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Each of the CCNE awardees is associated with one or more NCI-designated Cancer
Centers, affiliated with schools of engineering and physical sciences, and partnered
with not-for-profit organizations and/or private sector firms, with the specific
intent of advancing the technologies being developed.
Today’s CCNE awardees (in alphabetical order) are:
- Carolina Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence, University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C. This center will focus on the fabrication of "smart" or
targeted nanoparticles and other nanodevices for cancer therapy and imaging.
Principal investigator: Rudolph Juliano, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina).
- Center of Nanotechnology for Treatment, Understanding,
and Monitoring of Cancer, University of California, San Diego, Calif. This center will focus
on a smart, multifunctional, all-in-one platform capable of targeting tumors
and delivering payloads of therapeutics. Principal investigator: Sadik Esener,
- Emory-Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Center for Personalized
and Predictive Oncology, Atlanta, Ga. This center will aim to innovate and accelerate the
development of nanoparticles attached to biological molecules for cancer molecular
imaging, molecular profiling and personalized therapy. Principal investigators:
Shuming Nie, Ph.D., and Jonathan Simons, M.D. (Emory University and Georgia
Institute of Technology).
- MIT-Harvard Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence, Cambridge, Mass.
This center will focus on diversified nanoplatforms for targeted therapy, diagnostics,
noninvasive imaging, and molecular sensing. Principal investigators: Robert
Langer, Ph.D. (MIT), and Ralph Weissleder, M.D., Ph.D. (Harvard University,
Massachusetts General Hospital).
- Nanomaterials for Cancer Diagnostics and Therapeutics,
Evanston, Ill. This center plans to design and test nanomaterials and nanodevices
to improve cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment. Principal
investigator: Chad Mirkin, Ph.D. (Northwestern University).
- Nanosystems Biology Cancer Center, California Institute
of Technology, Pasadena,
Calif. This center will focus on the development and validation of tools for
early detection and stratification of cancer through rapid and quantitative
measurement of panels of serum and tissue-based biomarkers. Principal investigator:
James Heath, Ph.D. (California Institute of Technology).
- The Siteman Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence
at Washington University,
St. Louis, Mo. This center has a comprehensive set of projects for the development
of nanoparticles for in vivo imaging and drug delivery, with special emphasis
on translational medicine. Principal investigator: Samuel Wickline, M.D. (Washington
“NCI has supported the application of nanotechnology to cancer through a variety
of programs and interactions with the scientific community for more than seven
years, and we’re very gratified that our activities are helping to advance a
pipeline of new product opportunities,” noted NCI Deputy Director Anna Barker,
Ph.D. “In what we believe will be a paradigm shift for cancer research, unprecedented
numbers of multidisciplinary teams of basic and clinical researchers at world-class
institutions are networking their research together to focus on the key cancer
nanotech opportunities. The depth and diversity of the Centers of Nanotechnology
Excellence award submissions were extraordinary. With the advent of the CCNEs,
we are particularly looking forward to new nanotech-based therapeutic delivery
systems that could enhance the efficacy and tolerability of cancer treatments — an
advance that would greatly benefit cancer patients.”
Other components of the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer include the
- Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnerships are tightly focused programs
designed to develop the technologies to underpin new products in six key programmatic
areas: molecular imaging and early detection, in vivo imaging, reporters of
efficacy (e.g., real-time assessment of treatment), multifunctional therapeutics,
prevention and control, and research enablers (opening new pathways for research).
These 12, five-year awards, with first-year funding totaling $7 million dollars,
will be announced this month.
- The Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL), established at NCI’s
Frederick, Md., facility earlier this year, performs analytical tests to guide
the research community, support regulatory decisions, and help identify and
monitor environmental, health and safety ramifications of nanotech applications.
The NCL recently completed its first year of operation and is actively characterizing
nanoparticles for academic and commercial researchers through a rigorous set
of analytical protocols. The NCL works in concert with the National Institute
of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA). For more information, please visit http://ncl.cancer.gov.
- Multidisciplinary research training and team development: The application
of nanotechnology to cancer requires cross-disciplinary training in biological
and physical sciences. The Alliance will support training and career development
initiatives to establish integrated teams of cancer researchers, through mechanisms
such as the NIH National Research Service Awards for Senior Fellows and the
NIH National Research Service Awards for Postdoctoral Fellows. Applications
are now being accepted for training awards (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-CA-06-010.html).
In addition, through NCI’s collaboration with the National Science Foundation,
$12.8 million in grants were awarded last month to four institutions over the
next five years for U.S. science and engineering doctoral students to focus
on interdisciplinary nanoscience and technology research with applications
to cancer (http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/pressreleases/NCINSFIGERT).
For more information about the NCI Alliance on Nanotechnology in Cancer,
please visit http://nano.cancer.gov. For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI Web site at http://www.cancer.gov or call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research
Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.