Nanomedicine studies at USC received a boost thanks to the USC Ming Hsieh Institute for Research on Engineering–Medicine for Cancer. The institute recently announced three USC proposal grant awardees for 2014.

The USC Ming Hsieh Institute helps fund proposals for new nanomedicine research projects that show exceptional promise for translation into clinical trials for cancer treatment. Awardees must demonstrate that a modest seed investment will have significant impact on the research, either by initiating a novel concept or accelerating clinical trials.

The three proposals awarded were:

  • Min Yu, MD, PhD, (primary investigator, Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC), and Julie Lange, MD, (co-investigator, USC Viterbi School of Engineering), “Nanoparticle Mediated Delivery Targeting TAK1 as Metastatic Breast Cancer Therapy”
  • Peter Conti, MD, PhD, (co-investigator, Radiology) and Jennica Zaro, PhD, (Primary investigator, USC School of Pharmacy), “Optimization of pH-Sensitive Nanoconstructs for Use in Targeting the Mildly Acidic Tumor Microenvironment;” and
  • Alan Epstein, MD, PhD, (co-investigator, Pathology), Conti (co-investigator), Zibo Li, PhD, (co-investigator, Radiology) with Andrew McKay, PhD, (co-investigator, USC Pharmacy), “Bispecific Hybrid Nanoworms for Immunotherapy of B-Cell Lymphoma.”

The USC Ming Hsieh Institute integrates engineering, scientific and medical research to help speed discovery and bench-to-bedside research that improves the lives of cancer patients. The institute hopes to help develop new therapeutic approaches that minimize the adverse effects typically associated with conventional chemotherapy agents.

The institute was established in 2010 through a generous gift from USC Trustee and graduate Ming Hsieh, CEO and chairman of Fulgent Therapeutics. Hsieh recently was given the Elaine Stevely Hoffman Award for his extraordinary service in recognition of longstanding contributions and supreme dedication to the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

— Amy E. Hamaker