The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC-H), The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Rice University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine have joined forces to form the Texas Center for Cancer Nanomedicine (TCCN). The TCCN brings together a multi-disciplinary, internationally recognized team of investigators to develop and translate nanotechnology-enabled innovation for improving the traditionally dismal outcome of ovarian and pancreatic cancers. The main research focus areas of the TCCN are: Multifunctional Nano-Therapeutics and Post-Therapy Monitoring Tools (Area 2 of the CCNE RFA), and Devices and Techniques for Cancer Prevention and Control (Area 3). By natural synergies of the underlying nano-platforms, the TCCN's investigations in focus areas 2 and 3 automatically provide a cadre of approaches for Area 1: Early Diagnosis Using In-Vitro Assays and Devices and In-Vivo Imaging Techniques. The TCCN has four projects and three cores. Projects 1 and 2 directly address ovarian cancer, and Projects 3 and 4 directly address pancreatic cancer. In each oncology focus area, one project involves multifunctional nanoplatforms for the delivery of bioactive agents to the tumors (Project 1- ovarian and Project 3- pancreatic), and the other, targeting approaches to the cancer-associated vascular endothelia (Project 2- ovarian and Project 4- pancreatic), for imaging and therapy. Both adenocarcinoma (Project 3) and endocrine pancreatic malignancies (Project 4) are considered in the TCCN. All Projects integrate fundamental investigations in cancer biology, nanotechnology platform development, and pharmaceutical sciences, albeit to different degrees. The cores are the Biomathematics Core, Targeting Core and Nanoengineering Core. All projects and Cores integrate with each other through the sharing of research results and nanotechnology platforms. This integration allows the TCCN to achieve clinical translation of its research breakthroughs, and aggressively manage the risks that are naturally associated with any highly innovative program at a rapid pace. To fuel translation to the clinic, several TCCN investigators have successfully developed spin-off companies based upon their research. Collectively, with a combination of synergistic projects supported by cores that provide services to each project and a track record of successful bench-to-bedside translation, the TCCN is uniquely positioned to bring forth highly effective nanotechnology platforms for prevention, therapy and monitoring of ovarian and pancreatic cancers. Public Health Relevance: The TCCN aims to utilize innovative nanotechnologies for new therapeutic strategies, methodologies for reliable monitoring of therapeutic efficacy, early detection approaches from biological fluids and advances in imaging, and cancer-prevention protocols for ovarian and pancreatic cancers. The TCCN will apply a diverse array of nano-platforms to achieve these aims. While the primary emphasis In the TCCN is on ovarian and pancreatic cancers, it is likely that the new approaches will have applications for many other malignancies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-GRB-S (M1))
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Morris, Stephanie A
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University of Texas Health Science Center Houston
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Medicine
United States
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