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Nanotechnology Seminar Series

"Tumor Targeting Nanodelivery Systems: Expanding the Potential for Cancer Therapy and Diagnosis"
January 27, 2005

"Tumor Targeting Nanodelivery Systems: Expanding the Potential for Cancer Therapy and Diagnosis"

Speaker Bio:
Esther H. Chang, Ph.D.
Professor of Oncology and Otolaryngology
Georgetown University Medical Center
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Esther Chang serves as Basic Science co-Leader of the Molecular Targets and Developmental Therapeutics (MTDT) Program at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research efforts focus primarily on the molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and in translating this basic information into new clinical modalities. Specifically, Dr. Chang is interested in the genetic basis of cancer and mainly focuses on tumor suppressor genes p53 and Rb and oncogenes HER-2, ras and raf. More recently, her research is directed toward improving conventional cancer therapies by combining them with systemic, tumor-targeted gene therapies to down modulate the expression of oncogenes or restore the function of tumor suppressor genes. Both strategies are rooted deeply in the principles of induction or enhancement of apoptosis caused by a conventional cancer therapy. These innovative therapeutic approaches involve delivery of the molecular therapeutics via vectors that not only home to the primary tumor, but also to the metastases. Through the NCI Decision network, the NCI's Rapid Access to Intervention Development (RAID), NIDCR RO1, and NCI STTR I and II grant mechanism, this new therapeutic modality is now being evaluated for use in human clinical trials. Dr. Chang's research contributions are evident in her more than 120 publications and her 20-year history of continuous peer-reviewed grant support. Two of her seminal papers were in the top 100 and one in the top 10 most-cited publications in biomedical sciences in their respective years of publication.

Tumor Targeting Nanodelivery Systems: Expanding the Potential for Cancer Therapy and Diagnosis

Many issues need to be addressed before the promise of tumor-targeting diagnosis and therapy for cancer can be realized. Foremost among these is the efficient and selective delivery of diagnostic or therapeutic molecules to the site(s) in the body where the target tumor cells reside. Of particular relevance to cancer is the ability to target cells that have migrated via metastases from the site of the primary tumor. Our laboratory has demonstrated that a systemically administered, cationic liposomal nanocomplex bearing molecules that home to the surface of tumor cells can efficiently and selectively deliver diagnostic contrast agents and nucleic acid-based therapeutics to primary tumors and metastases in animal models of a variety of human cancers. The nanodelivery of imaging agents results in a significant improvement in the sensitivity and resolution in detecting metastatic lesions. Moreover, certain of the nucleic acid-based therapeutics have been shown to dramatically synergize with conventional radio- and chemotherapies.