University of Missouri - Columbia.
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Posted 10.21.05

NIH Awards Nanomedicine Researcher $3 Million for Cancer Cell Detection Project

Grant Will Strengthen Study of Nanomedicine

COLUMBIA, MO -- Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among men in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, a team of 12 researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia is receiving more than $3 million from the National Institutes of Health to use cutting-edge nanotechnology to detect and treat prostate cancer at the molecular level.

"We will apply principles of nanoscience and nanotechnology to develop innovative molecular imaging and therapeutic approaches to combat prostate cancer," said Kattesh Katti, professor of radiology and physics, senior research scientist at the MU Research Reactor and principal investigator for this project.

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The research project, "Hybrid Nanoparticles in Imaging and Therapy of Prostate Cancer" will use metallic nanoparticles made especially for medical applications in a patented process at MU's Nanoparticle Production Core Facility. The collaborative research efforts of Katti and Kannan Raghuraman, research assistant professor of radiology at MU, have resulted in novel discoveries for the production of biocompatible gold and silver nanoparticles. The idea is to administer millions of nanoparticles programmed to target cancerous tumors in the prostate. Once the particles locate the early tumor, doctors would use an X-ray to see the tumor. With this process, cancer may be detected in just one cell, possibly months or even years earlier than can be detected now. With current technology, cancer must exist within a cluster of hundred of cells and in a much more advanced stage to be diagnosed.

"One of the criteria for the award of this grant was to build partnerships with other institutions to achieve an interdisciplinary cancer nanotechnology platform. However, with our tremendous track record in cancer research, I felt that MU is so unique that we needed to build a partnership of outstanding interdisciplinary researchers from within our schools of medicine, veterinary medicine and engineering, College of Arts and Science and the MU Research Reactor," Katti said.

"Dr. Katti's leadership has placed MU and the state of Missouri on the map of nanotechnological breakthroughs thus, providing timely impetus toward the establishment of a 'Nanomedicine Center' for advanced nanomedicine research and formal training of our undergraduates and graduate students in the emerging area of nanoscience," said Robert Churchill, professor and chairman of radiology at MU and member of the scientific steering committee for this grant.

"This grant marks a historic moment for MU because this is the highest award in nanomedicine within our four campus system," Katti said. "The competition for this award was fierce and we all should be proud because we competed successfully."



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