Research Projects

The Translational Nanomedicine Program at Mayo Clinic conducts basic science research to synthesize and create detailed characterizations of novel nanomaterials.

A precise understanding of the chemical and physical properties of nanomaterials paves the path for clinician-investigators to explore the uses of these materials in translational nanomedicine applied to patient care.

The Translational Nanomedicine Program has three main research projects.

Nanobiosensor for early detection of pancreatic cancer

The Translational Nanomedicine Program is developing a new nanosensor-based protein analysis tool that will allow molecular recognition adapted specifically for cancer biomarkers from a single exosome.

Exosomes are small membrane-bound vesicles secreted into the cellular environment that contain biomarker proteins and may provide critical signatures of early pancreatic cancer development and progression. However, there is no technology that can monitor the protein analytics from a single exosome.

Once the Translational Nanomedicine Program's novel nanobiosensor platform is developed, Mayo Clinic researchers will be able to investigate exosomes derived from patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma as possible biomarkers for early detection and disease progression.

Nanoplatform to monitor therapeutic outcomes

The Translational Nanomedicine Program is developing a new fluorescent sensor platform to quantify glucose levels and concentrations of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) within the tumor microenvironment.

Once developed, this nanoplatform will allow clinicians to monitor patient response to cancer therapies in real time.

For many cancers, therapeutic options include multimodality and multidrug regimens, which can make monitoring specific tumor responses difficult.

A combination of simultaneous imaging and pathological testing can help precisely measure tumor responses after chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. However, these methods can't monitor real-time spatiotemporal cell-based evaluation of therapeutic response.

To overcome this obstacle, the Translational Nanomedicine Program is developing a novel monitoring nanoplatform.

This nanoplatform has the potential to help clinicians know precisely which therapies are producing the desired outcome of reducing or eliminating tumors. The nanoplatform targets pancreatic cancer, renal cancer, breast cancer, melanoma and hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of primary liver cancer.

Nanoplatform for targeted drug delivery

Several preclinical studies have shown that nanotechnology can improve diagnostic and therapeutic outcomes for patients who have pancreatic cancer.

But because the biological interactions of these nanomaterials are poorly understood, their successful translation into the clinical setting has been hindered.

Investigators in the Translational Nanomedicine Program at Mayo Clinic are pursuing this research project about a nanoplatform for targeted drug delivery to address challenges in transferring nanomedicine to the bedside effectively.