Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence
Focused on Therapy Response (CCNE-TR)


Project Interactions

The above figure shows the intersections between the six projects. The interactions between the projects are grouped by project components with similar line patterns.

  • Nanotechnology Development: Projects 1 and 2 will synergistically coordinate the nanofabrication and nanosensor development aspects of their respective projects to determine the best nanosensor methods. Project 5 will closely coordinate the development of functionalized quantum dots (qdots) for protein targeting.
  • Functionalized Quantum Dots: Project 6 will receive biologically targeted qdots from Project 5 for the integration of in vivo imaging into a mouse model platform.
  • Protein Patterns and Reagents: Project 6 will provide mouse lymphoma model tissue/serum samples to Project 4 for protein profiling. Project 4 will internally develop prostate cancer mouse models and will identify protein patterns. *Project 3 will provide human lymphoma tissue/serum samples to Project 4 for potential profiling in future years. Project 4 will develop aptamers to target proteins and will work with Project 5 to develop antibodies to target proteins that will go to Projects1 and 2 for ex vivo nanosenor development.
  • Integrated Mouse Models: Project 6 will work with ex vivo nanosensors from Projects 1 and 2, and a prostate cancer mouse model from Project 4, for integration of ex vivo nanosensors and in vivo molecular imaging into the complete testing platform.
  • Protein Phosphorylation Detection: *Project 3 will develop methods to study protein phosphorylation using Raman sensors nanotechnology and will analyze human lymphoma samples. These lymphoma samples will also be given to Project 4 for future use in protein profiling.Project 6 will provide some lymphoma mouse model samples to *Project 3 for future use in detecting protein phosphorylation.

We are developing nanosensors for ex vivo protein analysis and nanoparticles for in vivo molecular imaging, thereby combining the advantages of both major strategies. We are also making significant progress in developing and validating nanoparticles for optical molecular imaging using quantum dots that can predict and monitor therapy response in animal models. These discoveries should lead to new methods of testing drug efficacy in small animal cancer models, thereby accelerating the process of bringing improved drugs to the clinic. Our newly developed nanoparticles also have the potential to benefit intraoperative staging and to aid in the early diagnosis of cancer.

Based on magneto-nanosensors, nanotube/nanowire sensors, and Raman nanosensors, our unique nanotechnology platforms will allow the investigation of proteins from tissue and blood from pre- and posttreatment cancer patients to predict which patients will most likely respond or are responding to specific anti-cancer therapies. In our current research efforts, we will be testing patient tumor/serum samples from SPORE and other clinical studies along with mouse models of cancer. The cancer-related biochemical pathways targeted will be the her-kinase axis, with prostate cancer as the initial focus, and CD20 receptor/c-myc oncogene, with lymphoma as the second major focus. First, we will use mass spectrometry to characterize tumors/serum for protein profiles, and then we will develop corresponding antibodies/aptamers that will be linked to nanosensors for high sensitivity target cell surface antigens and potentially intracellular targets. All of these endeavors will be research projects. We will leverage resources in our three cancer centers, as well as the three additional cores in nanofabrication, nanocharacterization, and bioinformatics/biostatistics.

We are highly optimistic that our proposed work will help ongoing efforts to bring nanotechnology into the routine arsenal of cancer biologists and oncologists for improved patient management.

*Project 3 evolved into other areas and is no longer continuing with the CCNE-TR grant