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Department of Biological Sciences

Dr. Hexin Chen awarded an R21 from the NIH

Dr. Hexin Chen, professor in the Department, was awarded a two year R21 grant for $360,034 from the National Cancer Institute to conduct a project entitled "Nanoparticle-delivered miR-489 rejuvenates anthracycline-based chemotherapy”!

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) comprises 15 to 20% of breast cancers and is the most aggressive subtype with a significantly shorter median overall survival compared to other subtypes. There are no targeted therapies for TNBC and only 10% of TNBC patients respond to immune therapy. Thus, most of patients with TNBC still mainly depend on conventional chemotherapies, with doxorubicin (Dox) as a commonly used one. However, two crucial concerns with use of chemotherapies such as Dox are severe toxicity and drug resistance. The insensitivity to Dox chemotherapy is associated with a 40 to 80% risk of recurrence, resulting in distant metastasis and death for most TNBC patients. Adding miR-489 into Dox-based chemotherapy can enhance chemotherapy efficacy and potentially lower the dosage of Dox, therefore reducing its short-term and long-term toxicity. The proposed studies aim at formulating tumor-targeting miR-489 nanoparticles, characterizing the delivery efficiency and toxicity in vitro and in vivo, and testing their therapeutic effects on Dox-resistant cancer models.

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