University of Buffalo Pharmacy Professor Awarded $1.5 Million to Silence Exosome-Mediated Chatter Among Cancer Cells

With the support of a new $1.58 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), University at Buffalo researchers aim to develop a targeted treatment to prevent communication between cancer cells. By developing biomaterials that target exosomes – lipid vesicles secreted by many cells that act as a courier between them – the researchers will deliver anti-cancer drugs to alter the pathogenic messages being delivered. Exosomes, once thought of as the cell’s garbage disposal, have the ability to transport genetic information, allowing them to reprogram cells and alter their function. When secreted by a cancer cell into the circulatory system, exosomes may carry genetic material that enhances the spread of cancer to surrounding tissue and other parts of the body. “Reprograming these exosomes may disarm the dangerous package that they carry, potentially preventing tumor growth and spread to distant sites or organs,” says Juliane Nguyen (photo), PharmD, PhD, Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The announcement was made in a UB press release dated August 28, 2017 and authored by Marcene Robinson.
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