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UT nanoscientist gets $7 million DoD Innovator Award for breast cancer research
Date:3/4/2009

Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., a nanomedicine scientist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, has received a five-year, $7 million Innovator Award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Breast Cancer Research Program to develop a targeted new delivery system for breast cancer drugs. . If this new approach proves successful, it could increase the efficiency of drug delivery by concentrating more drug at the site of a tumor. A more efficient drug delivery system has the potential to reduce side effects associated with these drugs.

In global competition, Ferrari was the sole recipient of the DoD Breast Cancer Innovator Award for his proposal submitted in 2008, making him the 17th recipient of this unique award in the last eight years. The Innovator Award is offered to support visionary individuals who have demonstrated creativity, innovative work and leadership in any field who will focus their talents on breast cancer.

"Dr. Ferrari is translating advances in nanotechnology into the prevention and treatment of human diseases; that is why we are here," said Larry Kaiser, M.D., president of the UT Health Science Center at Houston. "His work in the area of cancer is particularly promising and Dr. Ferrari's leadership in this collaborative approach is significant."

Right now, when doctors inject a breast cancer drug, only a small percentage reaches malignant cells. The remaining drug circulates through blood vessels and can kill healthy, non-cancerous tissue. Side effects can include fatigue, hair loss and diarrhea.

With conventional chemotherapy, approximately one of every 100,000 drug molecules reaches its intended destination.

Ferrari's proposed solution to this problem is to package these drugs in miniaturized carriers engineered to search out, recognize and release their payload at the site of the tumor. These nanocarriers are about one hundr
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Contact: Robert Cahill
Robert.Cahill@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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