Using Nanotechnology to Treat Pediatric Cancers

Childhood cancer patients often suffer severe side effects with chemotherapy treatment. Strategies that would improve the delivery of anti-cancer agents specifically to tumor cells would not only increase the effectiveness of a chemotherapy, but also would reduce its systemic toxicity. A molecular vehicle is needed that could target tumor cells - nanoparticles provide such a potential vehicle. Nanoparticles can loosely be defined as synthetic structures with dimensions ranging from 1-100 nanometers (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, about the size of a water molecule), whose unique properties, at least in part, depend on their physical size and component chemistry. Many contain a hollow core into which a wide range of cargo can be packaged.

Dr. Federman will develop and test targeted nanoparticles to treat pediatric sarcomas (aggressive and often lethal bone and soft tissue cancers), in which the survival rate for patients is less than 20% despite incredibly aggressive chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatments. This completely novel and high-risk project would be a breakthrough in our current treatment of pediatric cancers, leading to the development of powerful new therapeutic strategies in aggressive childhood malignancies. If successful, we hope to rapidly translate this technology from the laboratory bench to the patient's bedside.

Run time: 3.05 mins

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