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NIH award will enable design of brain tumor treatment that captures migrating cancer cells
Date:8/10/2010

The Georgia Institute of Technology has received a EUREKA grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to design a new way to treat invasive brain tumors by capturing the migrating cells that spread the disease. The EUREKA -- Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration -- program helps scientists test new, unconventional ideas or tackle major methodological or technical challenges.

The research team plans to develop a system that will excavate brain tumor cells by directing them away from their location in the interior of the brain to a more external location where they can be removed or killed. Nanofiber-based polymer thin films coated with biochemical cues will be aligned in the brain to provide a corridor for tumor cells to follow to a gel-based 'sink' where they will be captured and safely removed or encouraged to die through chemical signaling.

"We believe this is the first attempt to exploit the invasive, migrating properties of brain tumors by engineering a path for the tumors to move away from the primary site to a location where treatment can occur," said lead investigator Ravi Bellamkonda, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

Collaborating with Bellamkonda on this project are Tobey MacDonald, director of the pediatric neuro-oncology program at the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and an associate professor of pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine; and Barun Brahma, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The initial partnership between the researchers began with seed funding from the Georgia Cancer Coalition and Ian's Friends Foundation.

The National Cancer Institute is providing more than $1 million for the EUREKA grant. For the project, Bellamkonda, MacDonald and Brahma are focusing on treating medulloblastomas --
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Contact: Abby Vogel Robinson
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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