A $410,000 grant was awarded to associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Anton Naumov, for research into near-infrared emissive nanomaterials that can be utilized for bioimaging and drug delivery applications. Naumov says that the complexity of cancer conditions needs to be addressed with therapeutic strategies performing multiple functions: drug delivery, molecular imaging tracing drug delivery pathways, and biological sensing of cancer environments.
Associate provost for research and dean of graduate studies, Floyd Wormley, is co-principal investigator on the grant. He says, “This novel technology developed by Dr. Naumov can be used for the visualization of cancer inside of a patient and for the tracking of anti-cancer drugs and other therapeutics to ensure their disposition to their targeted organ systems. These studies exemplify the power of interdisciplinary research at TCU and its potential to enhance human health.”
Naumov says, “Nanomaterials have been demonstrated to substantially enhance treatment efficacy, protect healthy tissue from the adverse effects of toxic therapeutics, safely deliver degradable genetic medicines, target the therapies to the disease site, and serve as therapeutics on their own.” As opposed to conventional fluorophores or MRI/CT agents, nanomaterials offer a large modifiable platform for covalent/non-covalent functionalization with biomolecules and offer an expanded and tunable emission spectral range.
“We will be testing in biological cells and animal models,” Naumov says. “Imaging whole mice will be possible without the need of sacrificing and dissecting those for each imaging experiment, thus, conserving animal lives.”
photo credit: Jeffrey McWhorter