Dr. Pun’s award is in honor of Patricia Zoch Tate who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2005. The study will research treatment of tumors using a targeted non-viral mode of delivery. Tumors exist as dense masses in the body. The physical structure of these solid tumors presents a formidable challenge to drug delivery vehicles that need to penetrate and reach all cancer cells in order to be optimally effective.  

The goal of this research is to develop synthetic nanoparticles that efficiently penetrate solid tumors. I am convinced that the efficacy of gene therapy can be substantially improved by designing delivery systems that overcome physical barriers.

Anti-angiogenesis is a way of strangulating the blood supply of a tumor, since without new blood, the tumor cannot survive. Dr. Jain’s study will test an alternative treatment using a special polymer compound to deliver genes to the tumor site. Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, is critical for the development and progression of cancerous tumors. The identification of mechanisms to retard new blood vessel formation is likely to provide a novel approach to treat cancer.