CNSI scientists are developing new techniques that utilize nanotechnology to develop fundamental insight into the mechanisms underlying oncogenesis, malignant transformation and metastasis, new platforms for early-stage detection as well as systems for targeted delivery of therapeutic drugs tuned to specifically target cancer sites in the body.
The development and preclinical testing of a smart nanocarrier developed by Andre Nel and his colleagues, the “silicasome”, which is capable of delivering optimal amounts of chemotherapeutic agents directly to pancreatic tumors with decreased side effects and increased efficacy. The approach is remarkably powerful and has attracted significant attention in the field as well as the interest of investors. This has led to the recent launch of our newest startup company, Westwood Biosciences Inc., which is focused on bringing silicasome technology to the clinic as rapidly as possible, and on expanding its applications to numerous other types of cancer.
Human vaults are intracellular ribonucleoprotein particle complexes which consists of a major vault protein (MVP), the outer shell, which houses two minor vault proteins (VPARP and TEP1), and several small untranslated RNA molecules. Naturally occurring human vault particles are ubiquitous and present in every human cell and are the most abundant cytoplasmic protein particle in human cells, 10,000 plus particles per human cell. They are highly stable inside the cytoplasm and no function is known inside the cell. Vaults are highly conserved evolutionarily and almost ubiquitously expressed in eukaryotes. Vaults form a large nanocapsule with a barrel-shaped morphology surrounding a large hollow interior. Evidence suggest that they are an early alert signal to the immune system once a cell is lysed and vaults are released into the intracellular space where they are rapidly engulfed by APCs.
AFFILIATED FACULTY: Leonard Rome
Mechanics of Cancer
Metastasis is responsible for 90% of cancer-related deaths, representing over 500,000 deaths per year in the United States alone. Elucidating the mechanisms of malignant transformation and metastasis are vital to the early stage detection and effective therapeutic intervention. Led by members like Dino DiCarlo, research teams at CNSI are using microfabricated in-vitro systems that can replicate particular aspects of the tumor environment quantitatively and allow observation of the process of intravasation working to better understand the process and develop therapies targeted at the initial stages leading to metastases.
Research News – Nanomedicine for Cancer
December 10, 2018 | Sprayable gel developed by UCLA-led team could help the body fight off cancer after surgery
Sprayable gel developed by UCLA-led team could help the body fight off cancer after surgery Sprayable gel developed by UCLA-led team could help the body fight off cancer after surgery Denise Heady | December 10, 2018 A scanning electron microscope image of a gel...read more
October 16, 2018 | UCLA scientists develop a nano-enabled chemo-immunotherapy platform for breast cancer
UCLA researchers have developed a nanoparticle delivery system, known as a nanocarrier, which could help ignite the immune system to kill breast cancer tumors. This nano-enabled approach utilizes a combination of drugs that act synergistically to switch on the immune...read more
March 14, 2018 | Nanostructures created by UCLA scientists could make gene therapies safer, faster and more affordable
UCLA scientists have developed a new method that utilizes microscopic splinter-like structures called “nanospears” for the targeted delivery of biomolecules such as genes straight to patient cells. These magnetically guided nanostructures could enable gene therapies...read more
November 27, 2017 | UCLA scientists design nanotechnology platform for cancer immunotherapy, inducing immunogenic cell death in pancreatic cancer
UCLA scientists design nanotechnology platform for cancer immunotherapy, inducing immunogenic cell death in pancreatic cancer Meghan Steele Horan | November 27, 2017 UCLA researchers have developed a novel nanotechnology platform, which uses nanoparticles to deliver a...read more
UCLA scientists have unlocked an important mechanism that allows chemotherapy-carrying nanoparticles—extremely small objects between 1 and 100 nanometers (a billionth of a meter)—to directly access pancreatic cancer tumors, thereby improving the ability to kill cancer...read more
Just like an alphabet is made up of individual letters, DNA is composed of chemical bases. And in the same way that letters must be placed in a specific order to form words and sentences, the sequence of chemical bases is incredibly important in how DNA functions and...read more