Siyang Zheng, assistant professor of bioengineering, has been awarded a $720,000 grant from the American Cancer Society.
The four-year grant will allow Zheng to investigate how metastatic cancer cells release circulating tumor cells (CTCs) that travel through the blood and invade different parts of the body, a process that accounts for more than 90 percent of cancer related deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
Zheng's laboratory has taken a novel approach to obtaining CTCs, a challenging process, using an array of flexible microsprings to improve the filtration process. This could allow testing of drugs to measure their benefit without exposing a patient to the unnecessary cost or toxic effects of chemotherapy.
Since this technological platform is applicable to almost every type of cancer, it could quickly revolutionize the way therapies are derived for cancer patients in which cancer has spread.
Zheng's grant is among 96 research and training grants, totaling more than $8 million, announced by the organization.