Ongoing Center research projects have 4 critical objectives:
Novel Ultrasmall Silica-Organic Hybrid Nanoparticles
Research will aim to design and advance a novel suite of modular sub-10 nanometer silica-organic hybrid nanoparticles in water-based environments with tunable size, brightness, and geometry as translatable platforms for diagnostic and/or therapeutic applications. Design and new functionalities of these nanoparticles will be informed by the results of ongoing Center projects and previously completed studies.
Image-Guided Surgery using Novel Optically-driven Ultrasmall Particle Platform and Real-time Handheld Device Technologies
Research will seek to achieve more expedient and reliable localization, staging, and treatment of metastatic melanoma in the intraoperative setting. Additionally, research in this realm will seek to reduce attendant surgical risks using fluorescence-based, real-time multiplexed detection tools. These optical tools enable simultaneous identification of critical cancer and/or normal tissue targets.
Novel Ultrasmall Targeted Particle Therapeutics
Research will seek to develop sub 10-nm particle-based therapeutic delivery platforms designed to carry small molecule inhibitors or radiotherapeutic labels. These platforms will be designed to either target specific genetic and molecular alterations that contribute to disease progression or be selectively retained at the target site for enhanced tumor cell kill. Innovative designs will be implemented and optimized to enhance tumor-directed delivery, accumulation, and efficacy while effectively eliminating dose-limiting toxicity.
Research will seek to identify an ensemble of reliable predictive and prognostic biomarkers that require validation in prospective clinical trials with an emphasis on cancer staging and tumor response to particle therapies.