Md. Jashim Uddin, research associate professor of biochemistry, has received the Phi Beta Psi national research award for the second year in a row. The award will fund an ongoing project in which Uddin and colleagues are working to develop an improved cancer imaging platform and technique.
There has been significant interest within the field of personalized medicine in developing nanotechnologies capable of diagnosis and drug delivery and that can monitor therapeutic response in real time when treating cancer—an unmet medical need today. Strategies for detecting molecular biomarkers associated with the initiation of cancer can facilitate early detection and timely surgical or therapeutic intervention. The discovery that COX-2 is expressed in colon polyps and colon cancers at higher levels than in normal tissue was recapitulated in solid tumors from many other organs. Mechanistic studies indicate that COX-2-generated prostaglandins regulate multiple tumor phenotypes, including proliferation, resistance to apoptosis, cell motility, and angiogenesis, which makes COX-2 an ideal target for molecular imaging and targeted chemotherapy of carcinogenesis.
Along with Uddin, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Pharmacology Lawrence Marnett and colleagues carried out proof-of-principle imaging experiments showing that COX-2 is an ideal target for the delivery of targeted imaging probes and cytotoxic agents to tissues containing elevated levels of the enzyme. Now, the second Phi Beta Psi fund has been awarded to Uddin for the development of a nanotechnology in which disease diagnosis and therapy are combined. Today, the call for personalized medicine demands a new nanoplatform for the simultaneous delivery of both imaging and therapeutic agents to preneoplastic or neoplastic tissues for imaging to be performed not only before or after, but also during a treatment procedure. This project is uniquely built for image-guided intervention of colorectal carcinogenesis.