The Cancer Prevention &
Research Institute of Texas has awarded two University of Texas at Arlington
bioengineering researchers – Baohong Yuan and Liping Tang – more than $1.2
million to explore better methods of detecting cancer.
Yuan, an assistant professor who
joined UT Arlington in 2010, this week won a $1 million award that he will use
to create a better imaging system to detect cancer in deep tissue – tens of
millimeters below the surface of the skin.
Tang, a bioengineering professor
who work has focused on tissue engineering, won $200,000 that he will use to
develop what he describes as a “chemical trap” that will mimic bone marrow,
which attracts cancer cells.
Texas voters approved CPRIT via constitutional amendment in 2007, authorizing
the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research
and prevention programs and services in Texas. Under its latest grant
cycle, the institute is providing more than $100 million to Texas cancer
research projects. Statewide, the institute has awarded more than $550 million
in funding for cancer research, prevention and commercialization projects over
the last two years.
In Yuan’s research, high-resolution
imaging of deep tissue has been a challenge in the biomedical imaging field for
many years because the images it produces are blurry. Better images of deep
tissue would allow doctors to monitor or evaluate tumor treatment, such as
anti-angiogenic therapy that can stop the growth of blood vessels in tumors.
“We want to provide much clearer
images of microvessels in deeply seated small tumors,” said Yuan, who combines
elements of physics with bioengineering for most of his research interests. “With
that information, physicians could better target the tumors for elimination.”
Tang’s new project focuses on
developing the bone marrow mimics, which could be injected or implanted in a
patient diagnosed with cancer.
Once they are trapped, the
cancer cells can be more easily killed with targeted radiation or chemotherapy.
Tang said the targeted treatment is easier on the patient and provides fewer
“It’s a decoy of sorts. We’re
tricking the body into thinking there’s some bone marrow there,” Tang said. “Cancer
often lodges in bone marrow before spreading to other parts of the body.”
Yuan’s and Tang’s new cancer-related
research demonstrates UT Arlington’s work and how it can benefit the world, said
Jean-Pierre Bardet, new dean of the College of Engineering.
“This is a growing field in
research,” Bardet said. “It’s a great example of our researchers trying to help
people through engineering.”
The University of Texas at
Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of 33,421 students in the
heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.