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Partners In Our Mission

Guided by the over-arching goal to prevent, detect, and treat cancer using innovative engineering methods, each working group has established specific goals:

Intelligent Materials and Targeting

This group will create nanoparticles that can locate tumor cells. Because of their microscopic size, nanoparticles could potentially penetrate pores to treat hard-to-reach tumors such as pancreatic and brain cancers. If nanoparticles are “loaded” with two cancer-fighting drugs and released in a controlled way, they could work synergistically to destroy the tumor while protecting healthy tissue near the tumor site. In another method, nanoparticles containing magnets could draw cancer cells to the magnet, then remove the cells.

Nanoparticles have the potential to make treatment more effective, treat inoperable tumors, and restore hope to patients with complex cancers. For this technology to work, engineers must develop advanced imaging techniques to see if the nanoparticles are in fact reaching the tumor site.

Tissue engineering

Creating artificial tumors in the lab allows engineers to test drugs on a model, which helps physicians better understand the disease process involved with the most challenging tumors. In the future, physicians may also use tissue engineering to aid tissue regrowth in patients who require facial reconstruction after brain surgery.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In an all-too-common scenario, a physician starts treating cancer one way, only to have the tumor change. AI will help doctors understand how to modify treatment for improved patient outcomes. By harnessing the power of AI, this working group will observe the impact of combination therapies and new drugs on cancer.

In addition to individual goals, the working groups share common objectives:

  • Become a valued member of the National Institute of Health, particularly the National Cancer Institute, NIH Clinical Center, and National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.
  • Add support facilities, including a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy lab to aid research into molecular structure and dynamics.
  • Establish a Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence in Florida.
  • Identify specific cancers requiring high-level biomedical engineering.
  • Fund additional research grants.
  • Share lessons learned with other medical centers and universities.
  • Train University of Miami students in collaborative science and cancer engineering.
  • Hire additional staff with unique expertise.

Great Ideas Don’t Exist in a Vacuum

Engineering Cancer Cures comes down to one ambition: Be better prepared and ready to respond when cancer therapies don’t work. Through a multidisciplinary collaboration, Engineering Cancer Cures is advancing innovation in cancer care. The future of medicine is happening today, at the University of Miami.