Posted in | News | Nanomedicine

NIH Grant to Help Future Medical Professionals Translate Nanotechnology Advances to the Clinic

Nanotechnology is becoming increasingly important in the development of cancer treatments, and clinicians must be able to comprehend it to succeed.

NIH Grant to Help Future Medical Professionals Translate Nanotechnology Advances to the Clinic.
Gang Bao. Image Credit: Jeff Fitlow.

Rice University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have been awarded a National Institutes of Health grant to help train future medical professionals on how to apply these tools in the clinic.

The $2.6 million five-year grant to Rice bioengineer Gang Bao and Konstantin Sokolov, a professor of imaging physics at MD Anderson and an adjunct professor of bioengineering at Rice, continues an NIH T32 training program that began in 2015 to enlighten future leaders with a focus on nano-enabled cancer applications.

Rice University’s Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering is in charge of the program.

Co-directors of the program, Bao and Sokolov, highlight the challenge put forth by the quick pace of technology, noting the unique promise of nanotechnology to offer “otherwise unattainable solutions to cancer management, including very early cancer detection, accurate molecular-specific diagnosis, and treatment that diminishes side effects.

We are very excited about this T32 award and the opportunity to work with MD Anderson to train outstanding pre- and postdoctoral fellows who will make significant contributions to the development and translation of nanotechnology-based approaches to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Gang Bao, Department Chair and Foyt Family Professor, Bioengineering, Rice University

Gang Bao is also a professor of chemistry, materials science and nanoengineering, and a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Scholar.

This interdisciplinary T32 program will fill an important gap in training future leaders in nanoengineering and oncological applications,” he said.

Gang Bao, Department Chair and Foyt Family Professor, Bioengineering, Rice University

Both institutions, according to Sokolov, have strong resources and evident institutional support, and mentors have extensive experience in early cancer detection, molecular diagnosis, treatment and cancer management.

Nanotechnology offers new possibilities for cancer diagnosis and treatment that differ greatly from traditional methods, and it’s important that we be ready to deploy them. That takes training, and we feel there’s no better way to do that than to draw upon the range of talent and experience at MD Anderson and Rice.

Konstantin Sokolov, Professor, Imaging Physics, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

According to Bao, the program will support four predoctoral and four postdoctoral fellows each year. He estimates that the grant will support each fellow for two to three years, with a total of 16 fellows being recruited over the course of five years.

Seminars and hands-on coursework will be provided by faculty mentors from MD Anderson and Rice, who will assist participants in defining and carrying out independent research projects. Trainees will also take part in a week-long boot camp in cancer management and nanotechnology to get a better understanding of the field’s current opportunities and challenges.

The co-directors stated that their program will enlist trainees from historically underrepresented groups in health-related research, including women, people from racial and ethnic minorities, people from disadvantaged backgrounds and individuals with disabilities.

Sokolov noted that all of the trainees who have taken part so far have continued their careers in health-related fields, with many solely focusing on cancer technology development or related research areas.

The funding comes from the National Institutes of Health’s Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award program, which allows institutions to recruit people for research training in areas where there are shortages.


Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type