Treating the Untreatable

New research funded by a NIH grant seeks to combat one of the most treatment-resistant cancers

Shawn Hingtgen and Jillian Perry

New research funded by a NIH grant seeks to combat one of the most treatment-resistant cancers

With the help of a $2.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, Shawn Hingtgen, PhD — associate professor in the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the Department of Neurosurgery at the UNC School of Medicine — will work to pursue therapies that suppress glioblastoma tumor recurrences after surgery.

Glioblastoma is one of the most treatment-resistant, complex and deadly cancers, according to the National Brain Tumor Society. The disease accounts for 48% of all primary malignant brain tumors. Each year, 10,000 Americans die from the disease.

Over the next five years, Hingtgen will work with Jillian Perry, Ph.D., assistant professor in UNC’s Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery to leverage the power of Continuous Liquid Interface Printing (CLIP). Invented by Joseph DeSimone — Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry, William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and co-investigator on the team — CLIP is a photochemical process that rapidly produces polymer objects from a pool of liquid resin.

The team will utilize the CLIP technology and 3D printers from CarbonTM to build several unique 3D matrices and assess the impact of different scaffold features on tumoricidal neural stem cell (tNSC) therapy for post-operative glioblastoma. These matrices will be implanted into the brain at the time of a patient’s tumor resection surgery to suppress tumor recurrences.

“Completion of this study will allow us to generate a tNSC/scaffold transplant strategy capable of robust glioblastoma killing that can be translated for human patient testing,” Hingtgen said.

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