The Purdue University Center for Cancer Research organized the Drug Delivery and Molecular Sensing program (DDMS) to take advantage of institutional research strengths that closely match new initiatives from the Nafional Cancer Institute (NCI) centered around cancer imaging, bionanotechnology, genomics, proteomics, and biomarker discovery. Given the deep pool of talented Purdue faculty, we envisioned stimulating interactions by matching technologies to specific problems in cancer biology and therapeutics. At the incepfion in 2006, the nucleus of the DDMS program included just six Center members. Through a series of campus wide workshops and interactions with other programs, departments and individual faculty, the program leader. Dr. Donald Bergstrom built a program with 17 participants within a three year period. The new members include four assistant professors and two associate professors. Among the 17 participants, six have primary appointments in the college of engineering while the group as a whole represents four colleges and ten departments. DDMS program participants published 492 papers since 2003 (9% collaborative). Of twenty-eight peer reviewed grants active during the last budget year, six are NCI funded ROl, R03, and R21 grants and four are cancer-focused but funded by other agencies (2 NIH-EB, 2 NIH-GM). The total peer reviewed support during this period was $4,627,196 direct costs, of which $1,490,188 (32.2%) came from NCI grants. DDMS members' research activifies fall broadly into three categories: 1) New molecules and materials, 2) In-vivo sensing: cell to whole animal, 3) Ex-vivo sensing. Many of the participants in the DDMS program are 'molecular tool' designers and developers, so from a molecular perspective, the activities within the three categories include synthesis and use of molecular probes, development of drug delivery technologies and devices, design and construction of nanoprobes for cellular studies and diagnosfics, development of 'omics' tools, development of molecular imaging technologies, and development of tools for probing bimolecular structure and function.
The program brings together scientists from various fields to address important cancer-related questions. Program leadership sets goals and encourages collaborations. Through the collaborative interactions important discovery are made, which will aid in reducing the pain and suffering caused by cancer.
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