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Research network based at University of Toronto gets $5 million boost to speed up cancer detection
Date:9/24/2009

TORONTO, ON A nanomedicine research group led by a University of Toronto chemist has received a $5-million grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), giving them the green light to develop faster ways of detecting leukemia and lung cancer cells.

"This funding will lead to healthier lives for Canadians," says Gilbert Walker, a professor in U of T's Department of Chemistry and primary investigator of the Network for Bioplasmonic Systems (BiopSys). "Our first goal is to determine the presence of lung cancer at an earlier stage than is currently possible, which will permit faster screening. Our second goal is to develop similar devices for detecting leukemia that will greatly decrease the time needed for diagnosis."

The BiopSys network aims to speed up cancer diagnosis by incorporating an emerging technology known as plasmonics into existing procedures that use cancer markers found on the surfaces of cells. Plasmonics a technique that produces waves of electrons when light hits a metal surface offers significant opportunities for increasing the number of types of cancer markers that can be identified simultaneously.

"Bioplasmonics uses light illumination and engineers it for the extremely sensitive detection of biological molecules," says Walker. "BiopSys will develop technologies that allow for more selective detection of diseases and other health conditions that are evident on cell surfaces."

The BiopSys network is one of two U of T projects to receive a $5-million funding boost through NSERC's Strategic Research Networks program, announced today at McMaster University. The other led by computer scientist Rene Miller, Bell Canada Chair of Information Systems at U of T looks at developing better information management systems for business, scientific, and government organizations.

"We are delighted that two of the nine networks created today are based at U of T," says Profes
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Contact: Sean Bettam
s.bettam@utoronto.ca
416-946-7950
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

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