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Early identification of metastases using nanotechnology


In a newly funded project “Magnetic Immuno-separation and Detection of Tumor Cells within CSF samples of Pediatric Brain Tumor Patients”, Dr. Hui Mao’s laboratory will collaborate with Dr. Tobey MacDonald from Department of Pediatrics and Dr. James Provenzale from Department of Radiology & Imaging Sci. to apply a nanotechnology approach to detect metastatic medulloblastomas cells in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) samples of pediatric brain tumor patients for early identification of metastases.This exploratory grant is awarded by the Center for Pediatric Nanomedicine that is jointly supported by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Medulloblastomas (MBs) are the most common form of primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the pediatric central nervous system.  Early detection of possible tumor metastasis is a key on the clinical management of this disease.  With a new class of the magnetic nanoparticle cluster with high magnetism developed in Dr. Mao’s lab, this project will develop and test magnetic immuno-separation and detection system with improved sensitivity and efficiency of cell separation, enrichment, capturing and detection of metastatic MB cells in CSF.  The goal of this project is to rapidly translate the latest nanotechnology developed by the research team, such as the anti-biofouling coating polymer for improving biomarker targeting efficiency and magnetic nanoparticle cluster for high magnetization, and new scientific discoveries in MB biomarkers, to the clinical pediatric neuro-oncology practice.