Northeastern Receives $1.2 Million From Keck Foundation to Develop Nanodevices

Northeastern University in Boston has announced a two-year, $1.2 million grant from the Los Angeles-based W.M. Keck Foundation to develop a multifunctional nanochip.

The long-term goal of university researchers is to use the chip as a powerful nano-biosensor and drug-delivery system that can identify antigens in body fluid or tissue and release specific drugs and dosages in real-time, based on what it detects. The grant will support development of the chip's major design features and feasibility testing of the new design for biomarker monitoring and controlled drug release, both in vitro (in a laboratory setting) and in vivo (within a living organism) to determine detection limits, bio-fouling protection, and effectiveness.

"Although this is a new grant, what you have here is the intersection of several very mature ideas," said Dr. Vladimir Torchilin, director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Nanomedicine at the university. "Each of the researchers involved has been working for many years to develop his piece of the solution — from the chips themselves, to the process of using them for bioanalytical purposes, to the options for controlled drug delivery. The Keck Foundation is known for funding some of the most innovative research being done today, and this project is no exception."