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Northwestern University

Interior View: A New Front Against Cancer

spherical nucleic acid

By Rebecca Lindell

Cancer is a cunning foe. It can behave so insidiously that the drugs used to fight it can land wide of the mark, damaging healthier tissues as well. But what if that medicine could be introduced with pinpoint accuracy into the very heart of a tumor? And what if, once delivered, the drug could work with spy-like stealth to fulfill its lifesaving mission? Such is the vision of Northwestern's Ronald and JoAnne Willens Center for Nano Oncology. Housed within Northwestern's International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN), the center connects Weinberg College scientists with McCormick School engineers and Feinberg School of Medicine researchers to develop innovative new therapies for the most aggressive cancers. Nanoparticles may be unfathomably small, notes IIN director Chad Mirkin, the Weinberg College chemistry professor who also leads the Willens Center. "But the potential for using them in the fight against cancer," he says, "is vast."

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