University scientists hold nano-cancer retreat today
About 40 cancer and nanoscience scientists at the University of South Carolina will convene for an inaugural retreat May 14 in Columbia to discuss potential research collaborations.
“The National Cancer Institute is very interested in the growing field of nano-oncology, and the University has many active researchers who are interested in collaborating more in this area,” said Dan Dixon, an associate professor in biological sciences who conducts research on colon cancer. Dixon and Qian Wang, Robert L. Sumwalt Professor of Chemistry, are organizers for the retreat.
Berwyn Clark, chief scientific officer for Lab21, a Cambridge, U.K.-based company, will be the keynote speaker for the all-day event. His company is focused on personalized medicine, developing tests that can determine which oncologic drugs would work best for a patient’s unique genetic characteristics.
“Certain cancer drugs work only in certain patients. Before an expensive cancer drug is to be used, the patient’s genome has to be assessed, and there are very sophisticated tests to determine that,” Clark said.
“We can develop these new tests quite readily but the next step is to make them available at the point of contact in the doctor’s practice. We’re interested in using nanotechnologies to make these tests and miniaturize them so that they can be administered more easily and quickly.”
Next week, Harold Craighead, director of the Nanobiotechnology Center at Cornell University and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, will meet with Carolina's cancer and nanoscience researchers to further discuss collaborative opportunities between the two groups.