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MSKCC-Cornell Center for Translation of Cancer Nanomedicine
Memorial Sloan Kettering and Cornell University

Center Overview

The scientific theme of the MC2TCN is based on advancing and translating a suite of ultrasmall (<10 nm) fluorescent silica organic hybrid nanoparticles, referred to as Cornell dots (or C dots), with tunable size, brightness, and geometry that may dramatically impact the way we diagnose and treat tumors on the basis of their favorable physicochemical, imaging, and biological properties. Earlier generation cancer-targeted C dots for both PET and optical imaging received FDA investigational new drug (IND) approvals for first-in-human clinical trials. Informed by these successes, MC2TCN will develop real-time intraoperative near infra-red (NIR) fluorescence detection tools to improve localization, staging, and treatment of melanoma, in addition to therapeutic delivery vehicles for enhancing targeted particle uptake, penetration, and efficacy in malignant brain tumors. The Center addresses common problems in oncology related to a lack of exquisitely bright, cancer-specific intraoperative visualization tools for targeted treatment of poorly prognostic nodal metastases, as well as the need for better targeted therapeutic delivery vehicles that may overcome the unfavorable biological properties, dose-limiting toxicity, and modest efficacy associated with native small molecule inhibitors (SMIs). The Center will (1) create new <10 nm probes with finely-tuned properties for reliably and accurately detecting cancer and/or normal tissue targets in surgical settings; (2) engineer <10 nm delivery vehicles incorporating SMIs or radiotherapies that can individually, or in combination with immunotherapies, selectively and efficaciously treat cancer, and (3) identify and qualify potential staging, prognostic and/or predictive biomarkers of response that can be validated by future clinical trial designs.

The two PIs leading the Center will be Drs. Michelle Bradbury (MSKCC) and Ulrich Wiesner (Cornell), who have been inter-institutional collaborators on the development and translation of C dots for over nine years. Dr. Michelle Bradbury, the Director of Intraoperative Imaging, Department of Radiology (MSKCC), holds a Joint appointment at Sloan Kettering Institute, and is an Associate Professor of Radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Her expertise is largely translational, and based in the areas of nanomedicine and molecular imaging. Prof. Wiesner is the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Engineering in the Materials Science and Engineering Department of Cornell University, with expertise in polymer and silica sol-gel derived nanomaterials.