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Nanotechnology for Medical Diagnostics and Treatment

Monday June 13, 2011, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Boston, Massachusetts

Technology Focus

Nanotechnology has the potential to have a revolutionary impact on medical diagnosis and therapy. It is universally accepted that early detection of cancer is essential even before anatomic anomalies are visible. A major challenge in cancer diagnosis in the 21st century is to be able to determine the exact relationship between cancer biomarkers and the clinical pathology, as well as, to be able to non-invasively detect tumors at an early stage for maximum therapeutic benefit. For breast cancer, for instance, the goal of molecular imaging is to be able to accurately diagnose when the tumor mass has approximately 100-1000 cells, as opposed to the current techniques like mammography, which require more than a million cells for accurate clinical diagnosis.

In cancer therapy, targeting and localized delivery are the key challenges. To wage an effective war against cancer, we have to have the ability to selectively attack the cancer cells, while saving the normal tissue from excessive burdens of drug toxicity. However, because many anticancer drugs are designed to simply kill cancer cells, often in a semi-specific fashion, the distribution of anticancer drugs in healthy organs or tissues is especially undesirable due to the potential for severe side effects. Consequently, systemic application of these drugs often causes severe side effects in other tissues (e.g. bone marrow suppression, cardiomyopathy, neurotoxicity), which greatly limits the maximal allowable dose of the drug. In addition, rapid elimination and widespread distribution into non-targeted organs and tissues requires the administration of a drug in large quantities, which is often not economical and sometimes complicated due to non-specific toxicity. This vicious cycle of large doses and the concurrent toxicity is a major limitation of current cancer therapy. In many instances, it has been observed that the patient succumbs to the ill effects of the drug toxicity far earlier than the tumor burden.

Course Objectives

This course will address the state of the art in nanotechnologies and nano-medicine, and their ongoing applications focused on addressing the challenges posed by cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Distinguished instructors will summarize the basics of nanotechnology and cancer biology, along with the current technologies, trials and future barriers. This program is designed to inform cancer researchers, clinicians, bio-nano technologists, technology managers, and business developers of the state of the art in bio nano technologies, focusing on applications of these technologies for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Course Outline


Nanotechnology for Cancer – Overview

  • Cancer biology fundamentals
  • Physiology of tumorigenesis, vasculature, etc.
  • Clinical aspects and current approaches
  • Unmet needs in clinical setting

Nanotechnology for Imaging - detection and therapy

  • Fluorophores and Quantum dots
  • Labeling and functionalization
  • Image analysis
  • Imaging facilitating surgical approaches

Nanotechnology for Cancer Therapy

  • Challenges in cancer therapy
  • Role of nanotechnology in cancer therapy
  • Nanotechnology platforms
  • Properties of nanoplatforms

Nanotechnology for Cancer Therapy

  • Passive versus active targeting
  • Tumor-targeted drug delivery systems (DNA, siRNA, etc)
  • Nanoparticles: silica, vesicles, dendrimers, etc.
  • Drug encapsulation strategies
  • Multifunctional nanotherapeutics
  • Radio-sensitization and tumor ablation with nanoparticles
  • Discussion

Nanotechnology in Cancer Research 1

  • Genome and proteome perturbations: overview
  • Protein and nucleic acid markers: handle for early detection
  • Current methodology and instrumentation
  • Limitations

Nanotechnology in Cancer Research 2

  • Why miniaturize?
  • Advanced separations: fluidics
  • Interfaces to measurement techniques
  • Cantilevers

Nanotechnology for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Wrap-up discussion

Course Instructors

Mansoor Amiji

Mansoor M. Amiji, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Co-Director, Nanomedicine Education and Research Consortium (NERC), Northeastern University, Boston, MA.

Dr. Amiji received his undergraduate degree in pharmacy from Northeastern University in 1988 and his PhD in pharmaceutics from Purdue University in 1992.  His areas of specialization include polymeric biomaterials, advanced drug delivery systems, and nanomedical technologies.

Dr. Amiji’s research interests include synthesis of novel polymeric materials for medical and pharmaceutical applications; surface modification of cationic polymers by the complexation-interpenetration method to develop biocompatible materials; preparation and characterization of polymeric membranes and microcapsules with controlled permeability properties for medical and pharmaceutical applications; target-specific drug and vaccine delivery systems for gastrointestinal tract infections; localized delivery of cytotoxic and anti-angiogenic drugs for solid tumors in novel biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles intracellular delivery systems for drugs and genes using target-specific, long-circulating, biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles; gold and iron-gold core-shell nanoparticles for biosensing, imaging and delivery applications.  His research has received sustained funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), private foundations, and industries.

Dr. Amiji is currently Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department and Co-Director of Northeastern University Nanomedicine Education and Research Consortium (NERC).  NERC oversees a doctoral training grant in Nanomedicine Science and Technology that was co-funded by the NIH and NSF. He has published four books: Applied Physical Pharmacy (McGraw-Hill, 2003), Polymeric Gene Delivery: Principles and Applications (Taylor & Francis, 2005), Nanotechnology for Cancer Therapy (Taylor & Francis, 2007), and Handbook of Materials for Nanomedicine (Pan Stanford Publishing, 2010) along with over 200 published book chapters, peer-reviewed articles, and conference proceedings. Dr. Amiji has received a number of awards including the 2006 NSTI Award for Outstanding Contributions towards the Advancement of Nanotechnology, Microtechnology, and Biotechnology and the 2007 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientist’s Meritorious Manuscript Award.

Dr. Amiji has supervised research efforts of over 80 post-doctoral associates, doctoral and master’s level graduate students, and undergraduate honors students over the last 17 years. His teaching responsibilities are in Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program and graduate programs (M.S. and Ph.D.) in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biotechnology, and Nanomedicine.

Srinivas Iyer

Srinivas Iyer, Ph.D., Technical Staff Member, Bioscience Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, USA. Dr. Iyer has a Ph.D. from the University of Houston in biochemistry, with extensive experience in nano-bio technology development and commercialization. Previously, Dr. Iyer worked at the UNM Medical School in Albuquerque NM and he is presently at the Bioscience Division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. At Los Alamos his current focus is the blending of micro and nanotechnologies with proteomic analysis and in the development of biologically inspired nanoscale materials for diverse applications. He has over ten years of research and four+ years of technical management experience and four+ years of government based commercialization experience. Through the NSTI, he is commissioned by various US defense organizations to provide bio-nano evaluations for funding and commercialization opportunities. Dr. Iyer is a co-founder of the International Nanotechnology Conference (Nanotech).

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