UAMS Researcher Receives $2.3 Million Worth of Grants

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2009 11:12 am  

A University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences researcher will receive $2.3 million worth of grants to treat and prevent lethal cancer metastasis and take his team's results to the first clinical trial of its kind.

The grant money is in addition to the $1.5 million grant Vladimir Zharov, director of the Phillips Classic Laser and Nanomedicine Laboratories at UAMS, received in May from the National Cancer Institute, according to a UAMS news release.

Zharov said in the news release that nanomedicine may eventually lead to breakthroughs in the early diagnosis and effective treatment of cancers, stroke, heart attack and infections, which are the leading causes of death.

"Nanomedicine holds the promise to solve many challenging problems of fundamental biology and clinical medicine," he said.

The first grant is for $1.2 million and is from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The money will be used for preclinical studies and a first-of-its-kind clinical trial using nanoparticles at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. The research will focus on ways to diagnose deadly breast cancer metastasis in its earliest stages.

The second grant will be used to focus on the role of stem cells in cancer development. The nearly $400,000 grant is for more than two years and was awarded by the National Cancer Institute.

The third grant, valued at $700,000 from the National Science Foundation, will be used to develop high resolution laser nano-imaging of tiny structures in live single cells that can be used for both basic and clinical studies with a focus on the early diagnosis of abnormal processes responsible for cancer and aging.

"Zharov's team is propelling UAMS and Arkansas to the front of elite worldwide institutions that are doing groundbreaking work in nanomedicine," Michael Douglas, director of UAMS BioVentures, said in the news release. "Nanomedicine is already a growing industry with more than 200 companies investing several million dollars annually."



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