DeSimone Gets $1 Million For Prostate Cancer Research

This year more than 240,000 men will be diagnosed with new cases of prostate cancer and more than 33,000 men will die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. With that statistic in mind, Joe DeSimone, a chemistry professor at Carolina who also is faculty member at N.C. State University, is partnering with a local biotechnology company and scientists at two universities to develop a nanoparticle vaccine to combat the disease.

DeSimone’s innovative research, based on a concept once believed impossible, received one of 10 $1 million Challenge Awards from the Prostate Cancer Foundation this year.

The foundation, the world’s largest donor for prostate cancer research, gives Challenge Awards to cross-disciplinary teams of prostate cancer investigators focused on research with potential near-term patient benefit.

“Joseph DeSimone and his cross-investigational team … have a goal of changing clinical practice and improving outcomes for patients with advanced prostate cancer,” said Howard Soule, executive vice president and chief science officer for the foundation.

Along with a team of chemists and immunologists, DeSimone is developing a new immunotherapy designed to stimulate a patient’s immune system in order to produce cancer-fighting agents and to attack cancer cells.

After creating the models, the UNC team will collaborate with scientists at Harvard and Johns Hopkins universities to test the particles in validated models.

Liquidia Technologies, a biotechnology company based in Research Triangle Park and founded by DeSimone in 2004, will assist with the project.

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