Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics has selected by children’s cancer, brain tumors, pancreatic cancer and a range of neurological conditions comprise the diseases targeted by this year’s research projects. Upon the 17th anniversary for the state-funded awards, the $4.6 million award represent With five competitive grants designed to help partnering researchers advance early studies in a medical science affecting conditions that have statewide impact.
The projects and attendees for 2020 include:
• “Development of a High Throughput Label-Free Platform Integrating Electronic Nanosensors and Holographic Imaging for Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection” – Dr. Tianhong Cui, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, and Dr. Martin Fernandez-Zapico, M.D., Mayo Clinic.
This year, the American Cancer Society predicts more than 1,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer in Minnesota and over 800 deaths from the disease. Cui and Fernandez-Zapico are trying to change those figures by developing a means to detect pancreatic cancer much earlier, allowing physicians to start treatment much sooner.
Cancer cells have different electrical and mechanical properties than healthy cells. The researchers hope to detect electrical differences using nanosensors, and detect the physical or mechanical differences using holographic images. The two combined technologies, if effective, could change diagnosis and drug screening for specific conditions.
• “Mechanistic Dissection of the K27M Histone Mutation in Pediatric Gliomagenesis” – Dr. Edward Hinchcliffe, Ph.D., The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, and Dr. Jann Sarkaria, M.D., Mayo Clinic.
Hinchcliffe and Sarkaria are trying to learn enough about how errors in cell division cause brain cancers in children and why those tumors become aggressive. There is no cure or effective treatment for these children, but this research team will use the new gene-editing tool CRISPR in the laboratory to explore how imbalanced chromosome development -— a major characteristic of pediatric brain tumors — can be detected, allowing for the creation of potential treatments.
• “Peptide-Guided Delivery System to Improve Treatment for Pediatric Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas” — Dr. Hongbo Pang, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, and Dr. David Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic.
One of the problems confronting physicians treating pediatric brain cancer, especially the tumors centered in the brainstem, is delivering drugs effectively into the solid tumor. Pang and Daniels aim to change that by devising a new, more effective drug delivery system guided by a specialized form of peptides.
A solution is urgently needed as post-diagnosis survival rates now stand at only one year.
• “Magnetic Nanodevice Arrays for the Treatment of Neurological Diseases” — Dr. Jianping Wang, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, and Dr. Kendall Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic.
Wang and Lee have a history of developing devices for deep-brain stimulation to treat neurological conditions. This plan is to develop a more advanced device — an implantable chip array — that is described as a flexible magnetic simulator. This new device could help treat a range of conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia, as well as Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. The new array would avoid the current need to reprogram existing devices when cells migrate around them and obstruct signals.
• “Overcoming Hormone Therapy Resistance in ER+HER2 – Breast Cancer by Inhibition of Epoxyeicosatrienoic Acid Driven Signaling” — Dr. David Potter, M.D., Ph.D., University of Minnesota, and Dr. Matthew Goetz, M.D., Mayo Clinic.
Every year, 40,000 women with metastatic breast cancer in the U.S. die because their tumor type resists hormone therapy. The latest drugs bring survival rates to just over three years.
Potter and Goetz have discovered the usefulness of metformin, a diabetes drug, in this therapy. They have discovered that it is 200 times more active than currently used drugs in augmenting cancer therapy in these women. This team hopes to develop an even more effective analog of this compound and test it in phase one clinical trials at the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic.
Who is Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics?
Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics represents a partnership between Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota established the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics to position Minnesota as a world leader in biotechnology and medical genomics through an historic partnership between the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic. This powerful research collaboration will achieve breakthroughs that improve lives through more precise diagnose and effective medical therapies. Further this partnership will contribute to Minnesota’s economy by creating quality jobs, expanding the tax base, stimulating dynamic new businesses and further evaluating Minnesota’s status as a worldwide destination for medical care.
The goals of the organization include:
- Position Minnesota as a world leader in biotechnology and medical genomics
- Achieve breakthroughs in new methods to accurately diagnose and develop innovative therapies for major disease areas such as cancer, heart disease and neurological disease
- Creation of a new industry – dynamic new businesses and quality jobs
- Maintain Minnesota’s position as a destination for medical care and its medical industry as a major contributor to the state’s job base
- Expand Minnesota’s tax base