U.S.-Irish collaboration picks up $4.4M in pursuit of pancreatic cancer nanomeds

Queen's University Belfast's Chris Scott

Research teams from the U.S. and Ireland are joining forces in the development of nanotechnology to treat pancreatic cancer. With a new grant of £2.9 million ($4.4 million), the international cohort aims to create chemotherapy-delivering treatments for the disease, which has the lowest 5-year survival rate of any common cancer.

Funding agencies from the U.S., Ireland and Northern Ireland came together to support the research of the scientists from Queen's University Belfast, Dublin City University and the University at Buffalo.

Project leader Chris Scott from Queen's has focused on the targeting of disease in past research, with a major interest in cysteine proteases that have been implicated in promoting disease conditions, according to the university website. He has outlicensed several biologic compounds to Fusion Antibodies, one of which is undergoing initial clinical trials.

"Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in the U.K.," Scott said in a statement. "Many chemotherapies could be more effective, and induce fewer side effects, if they could access the tumour more easily; this is what we aim to examine in this project. By working in partnership with researchers in New York and Dublin it will allow us to generate valuable discoveries and innovations which can move our work out of the laboratory and towards clinical trials. ... This is another example of the commitment of researchers and staff at Queen's to advancing knowledge and changing lives."

"This international research effort was funded after receiving high marks in a very competitive review process by cancer experts at the US NIH," added Bob Straubinger of the University at Buffalo. "I think several factors entered into the decision. One is the panel recognized the very high quality of research going on at our institutions, and that over the past several years, our international team has developed some well-thought and novel ideas that integrate what each of us do best."

- here's the release