The Nanoconstructs Core will (1) develop new nanoconstructs that can be compared side-by-side with nanoparticles currently used in the CCNE and (2) scale-up existing preparations of nanoparticles so that they can be widely distributed. The rationale is that nanoparticles are currently being tested primarily because they are available;however, it is still not obvious which nanoparticles are best-suited for a particular application or how to design them to achieve the highest efficacy. Therefore, a Core focused simultaneously on designing and testing new constructs will greatly accelerate progress in each of the CCNE research projects. Thus, researchers can take full advantage of the nanoconstructs in their eariy development, which will facilitate the application of this science into clinical stages. The infrastructure of this Core represents a new paradigm and model for how nanoconstructs should be developed and rapidly tested. We have designed a stage gating process where the new constructs have the potential to surpass the capabilities of the current ones because they are being compared at the same time against the same cancers. Comparison at the eariy stages will be facilitated by feedback from CCNE pilot projects, and resources will be allocated in a dynamic manner as the most efficacious agents are identified, scaled, and distributed. The Nanoconstructs Core will play a critical role in standardizing agents for therapeutics, diagnostics, and imaging because it will serve as a resource for test-bedding and a clearinghouse for CCNE-developed nanoconstructs. A single source that can provide quality-controlled, highly uniform nanoparticle probes will promote and enable better integration across all CCNE projects?which will ensure improved nano-cancer research connections as well as expedite the use of nanotechnology in clinical treatments of cancer. Hence, the Core will work closely with the projects in a feed-back and feed-forward manner and will also serve to nucleate the development of a local community with expertise in nanoscale synthesis and fabrication and characterization of nanomaterials coupled to biologically relevant molecules.
The Nanoconstructs Core will provide expertise that will increasingly be called upon as the impact of nanotechnology on cancer research is transitioned to the clinical stage. One of the important goals of this Core is to provide near-open access to advanced nanotechnology tools currently used in CCNE projects and under development by CCNE researchers at Northwestern University.
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