Dan Heller, a chemist and engineer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, describes one of the main focuses of his current laboratory work: nanotechnologies, which can be used to target metastatic cancer. His lab is developing tiny particles designed to target cancer cells while preserving normal tissue, making treatment more effective and resulting in fewer side effects for patients. His lab is also doing work on technologies for the early detection of cancer such as polymer nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes.
Dr. Heller goes on to describe the process of angiogenesis, or how tumors grow their own blood vessels in order to grow and expand. Tumor-created blood vessels are different from normal blood vessels. This difference can be exploited, and Dr. Heller’s laboratory is doing just that — developing polymers that can target the molecules in cancer-created blood vessels.