(La Jolla and Santa Barbara, California December 12, 2006) -- The Burnham Institute for Medical Research ("Burnham") has established an affiliation with the University of California, Santa Barbara led by internationally-renowned medical researcher Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D, the campus and the Institute announced today. Dr. Ruoslahti maintains his primary appointment as Distinguished Professor with the Burnham, and joins UCSB's Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology as an adjunct Distinguished Professor.
At Burnham-UCSB, Ruoslahti has opened the "Vascular Mapping Center", which will focus on developing applications for vascular "zip codes," based on technology discovered in his laboratory. Vascular zip codes are molecular signatures in blood and lymphatic vessels ("vasculature") that are specific to individual tissues and disease sites. Ruoslahti has discovered ways to selectively target drugs to tumor blood vessels in mice and suppress the growth of those tumors. He has also found a way to selectively target the lymphatic vessels in tumors. The hope is that this very specific delivery of therapeutics to tumor blood and lymphatic vessels will increase the efficacy of cancer therapies and decrease side effects.
Targeting peptides discovered in Ruoslahti's laboratory are providing the platform for integrating nanotechnologies into the design of new therapies for cancer and heart disease. Ruoslahti and others at Burnham contribute a key component to the Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence at the University of California, San Diego founded with $20 million from the National Cancer Institute.
A partnership of 25 scientists, primarily from Burnham and UCSB, has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a "Program of Excellence in Nanotechnology", awarding a $13 million grant to design nanotechnologies that detect, monitor, treat, and eliminate "vulnerable" plaque, the probable cause of deat
Contact: Nancy Beddingfield