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A Canisius College biochemist will use a $136,500 grant from the National Science Foundation to try and develop a better way of treating cancer patients.

Jeremy L. Steinbacher, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Canisius, is researching microscopic “nano-vehicles” that could allow higher doses of cancer-fighting drugs to be delivered directly to malignant tumors, while reducing the side effects suffered by chemotherapy patients.

“The toxicity of many drugs limits the amount that can be administered, especially for many chemotherapies used to treat cancer,” said Steinbacher. “If we can do this, we can then deliver higher doses of the drug to just the tumor and patients suffer fewer side effects or less damage to health tissues.”

Steinbacher’s work will focus on developing a new class of fluorine magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents that can be used both to identify diseased tissue and to deliver drugs to that tissue.

Steinbacher will carry out his research with the assistance of undergraduate students at Canisius, who also will collaborate with researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University at Buffalo.