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Inaugural Neuro-Link Grant to UMCP-UMB Team Supports Research to Improve Brain Cancer Treatment

By Alyssa Tomlinson

The University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Department of Neurosurgery today announced the award of the inaugural Neuro-Link program grant to a team of UMB/UMCP researchers working to develop a novel technique to treat glioblastoma, the deadliest and most common type of adult brain cancer.

The researchers, Department of Neurosurgery Chair Graeme F. Woodworth, M.D., neurosurgery faculty members Anthony J. Kim and Jeffrey A. Winkles and bioengineering Assistant Professor Huang Chiao (Joe) Huang are principal investigators on the project to improve the safety and efficacy of a laser-based procedure increasingly used to treat deep-seated, inoperable tumors, including those found in the brain.

The Neuro-Link-backed team seeks to use specialized nanoparticles and an advanced local drug-delivery strategy that bypasses the blood-brain barrier and penetrates tumor tissues to enhance how laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) targets tumor cells while significantly reducing LITT’s effect on surrounding normal brain cells.

Established last fall, the Neuro-Link funding opportunity provides $100,000 annually for up to three years. The program aims to accelerate and elevate the impact of joint UMB/UMCP research projects to create innovative new systems, approaches and technologies to improve patient care.

“This exciting new funding opportunity will help inspire College Park bioengineers and Baltimore researchers and clinicians to work together to address critical gaps in the current management of patients with complex neurosurgical problems,” said BIOE Chair John P. Fisher. “This kind of collaboration represents a pivotal step toward changing the course of brain cancer and other neurological diseases.”

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