University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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#7 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Fiscal 2013 NIH funding:
$383.75 million
Fiscal 2012 NIH funding: $377.6 million
Change in funding: $6.15 million
Number of awards in 2013: 892
Number of awards in 2012: 829

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are using genetically engineered mouse models to help predict how humans will respond to different chemotherapy drug combinations used to fight breast cancer. Last year, UNC scientists identified biomarkers for challenging molecular subtypes of human breast cancer in genetically engineered mice, specifically looking for types that have few known targets and available therapies. "This is a wonderful example of how well chosen mouse models can inform a human disease state. In this case we used years of research to match the models to specific human subtypes, and then treated the animals with therapies identical to what human cancer patients are receiving. We were ultimately able to develop a biomarker of treatment response from the mouse that works in humans," said lead study researcher Charles Perou, a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, in a statement.

Scientists at UNC, along with collaborators at MIT, have also been working on a way to quickly manufacture drug-delivering nanoparticles in various shapes and sizes with coatings that can fulfill many different functions. Typically, nanoparticles are made through a long process that involves soaking the particles in coating solution. Instead, MIT scientists sprayed the layers on top of them in just seconds. Combined with UNC's PRINT (particle replication in non-wetting templates) technique, which is commercialized by Liquidia Technologies, this process could allow for the mass production of uniform nanoparticles with control over their shape and drug targets.

For more:
Mouse models predict chemo treatment response in humans
Mass-produced nanoparticles for drug delivery show market potential

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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