Using a $125,000 grant from the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust, Stavroula Sofou, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and a researcher with the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, is developing a new approach to fighting metastatic cancer resistant to other therapies.
Clinical studies using high-energy radiation in the form of alpha-particles against metastatic tumors have yielded some excellent results. However, the short range of these particles limits their ability to penetrate all areas of a tumor.
Sofou and her team propose to improve results through the design of nanocarriers that can deposit therapeutic alpha-particles directly to regions of the tumor unreached by the original therapy. The researchers posit that such uniform and prolonged radiation will inhibit tumor growth and metastatic spreading even in cases where tumors are resistant to other drugs and therapies, and regardless of the stage of the disease when treatment is administered.
“If successful, this strategy may introduce a new paradigm in alpha-particle radiotherapy to established tumors,” Sofou said.
The W.W. Smith Charitable Trust is a private foundation focusing on areas ranging from basic medical research to maritime heritage and education to supplementing higher-education scholarship programs.