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MolES Seminar: Chun Wang (University of Minnesota)
WhenTuesday, Nov 7, 2017, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Campus locationAnderson Hall (AND)
Campus room223
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsMolecular Engineering & Sciences Institute

Molecular Engineering and Sciences Seminar Series

Novel Polymers for Cancer Therapy


Two stories on developing novel polymers for cancer therapy will be discussed. (1) To facilitate formulation and delivery of multi-component cancer vaccines, we have developed a new class of biodegradable semi-solid polymers (named “Caproxamers”) that allows easy loading and controlled release of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic bioactive cargos. Subcutaneous injection of antigens and adjuvants formulated in a Caproxamer induced antigen-specific antibody and T cell responses and showed therapeutic benefit in mice bearing orthotopic brain tumors. Combining simplicity in synthesis with versatility in properties, the potential use of Caproxamers may extend beyond vaccine delivery to include other drug delivery applications. (2) We designed a water-soluble synthetic polymer with intrinsic membrane lytic activity against several human and murine cancer cell types. Repeated intratumoral injections of the polymer showed no apparent systemic toxicity to mice, but resulted in massive tumor cell death. A modified polymer enabled systemic delivery with no toxicity, yet it regained cytotoxicity triggered by the tumor microenvironment, leading to suppression of tumor growth. These results establish the practical utility of chemically simple synthetic polymers as anticancer agents and open the door to a range of possibilities that may lead to new therapies against drug-resistant tumors.

Chun Wang received his Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering with Jindřich Kopeček at the University of Utah in 2001. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow with Robert Langer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2001 to 2004. In 2004, he joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota, where he currently is an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Biomedical Engineering with courtesy appointments in Chemical Engineering and Material Science and Pharmaceutics. He was the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Early Career Translational Research Award, and McKnight Land-Grant Professorship. From 2013 to 2015, he was a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Controlled Release (2006-2016) and has been an editorial board member for Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews since 2010. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed research articles and given over 100 invited talks. His research interest is polymer-based therapeutic biomaterials with applications in controlled drug delivery, immunotherapy, medical devices, and regenerative medicine.

This weekly seminar brings together students, faculty and invited guests from various disciplines across campus to explore current trends in molecular engineering and nanotechnology. It is a  forum for active interdisciplinary discussions.  These talks are open to the public and attract a diverse audience of students and faculty.…
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