VISHWANATHA RECEIVES AWARD FROM U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR BREAST CANCER RESEARCH

January 4, 2005

Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, PhD, associate dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, received an award from the Department of Defense for his studies on breast cancer therapy.

The award of $106,500 was part of the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. Approximately 250 awards were given in 2004, in a peer-reviewed research process. According to Gail Whitehead, public affairs coordinator with the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, only 14 percent of applicants received awards this year. Awards were given this year totaling $150 million.

Dr. Vishwanatha’s study, â??Breast Cancer Therapy with Annexin II Nanoparticles, received the Breast Cancer Research Program Concept Award. He was chosen in a double blind global competition for novel concepts in breast cancer research. Double blind means that the institution and the researcher were unidentified in the competition.

The study is designed to determine whether the replacement of the annexin II gene, using nanoparticle technology, results in the regression of breast cancer. Annexin II is a protein that affects formation of new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. Tumor growth is dependent on new blood vessel formation. Dr. Vishwanatha’s research uses a novel nanotechnology-based gene delivery method to inhibit the angiogenesis process as a way to treat breast cancer.

Nanoparticles eliminate the problems of toxicity and immunogenicity associated with other gene therapy delivery methods because they are biologically compatible. This compatibility means there are fewer incidents of side effects caused by the therapy itself. Nanoparticles also provide sustained gene expression, eliminating the need for frequent injection of the gene therapy.

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Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu

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