Develop polymers to better target toxic therapies at cancer cells.
Current drugs that fight cancer work like a shotgun, not a rifle. Chemotherapy is delivered to every cell in the body, with the hope that cancer cells will suffer a worse fate than healthy ones. This often leads to severe side effects. World-renowned scientist and USTAR professor Hamid Ghandehari is researching the use of large polymer molecules to deliver drugs or gene treatments to specific cells. These polymers work like vehicles that can only dock with specific cells, preventing medicine from being delivered to healthy ones.
Using state funds, USTAR recruited Dr. Ghandehari to the University of Utah. An expert in drug delivery innovation, he moves to Utah from the University of Maryland, where he founded the Center for Nanomedicine and Cellular Delivery, one of the first nanomedicine centers in the United States. His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. He is also Editor in Chief of Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews and Associate Editor of Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine.