Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

Xiuling Lu, assistant professor of pharmaceutics, was recently awarded a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society (ACS) in the amount of $792,000 for her project entitled “Activatable Nanoparticles for Radiotherapy of Metastatic Ovarian Cancer.” ACS Research Scholar Grants provide funding for independent scholars working on cancer-related research.

Over the course of the four-year award period, Lu and collaborators from UConn, UConn Health, Hartford Hospital and Yale aim to develop a safe and effective alternative therapy for the treatment of metastatic ovarian cancer, which has the highest death rate of any gynecologic cancer. Lu proposes to use non-radioactive nanoparticles that can be made radioactive after they have been prepared using a neutron activation technique. After neutron activation, the nanoparticles will contain a radioisotope that emits high-energy particles with sufficient tumor penetration to deliver efficacious absorbed radiation doses to the ovarian tumors, while minimizing the handling of radioactive materials by medical staff. These nanoparticles have been proved to accumulate in tumors specifically with limited retention in healthy tissues after being administered into the intraperitoneal cavity. Lu hypothesizes that her innovation will greatly improve the cancer specific delivery of radiotherapeutics, leading to a safer and more effective therapy for gynecological cancers. Once fully tested for the treatment of ovarian cancer, Lu expects that this technology can be extended to the treatment of other gynecologic cancers, as well as other metastatic abdominal cancers.

Jessica McBride
Office of the Vice President for Research