Grove School of Engineering Assistant Professor Dr. Sihong Wang has been awarded the National Science Foundation CAREER grant to develop a promising cancer drug screening device. This device places tumor samples into a grid designed to simulate human conditions, while various drugs are administered and evaluated for their effectiveness. If successful, this device would dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes for doctors to find best-fit treatments for their patients, resulting in quicker and better outcomes.
Doctors currently rely on trial and error methods when determining cancer treatments. Cycles of drugs are administered until an effective drug is found. Wang’s device would eliminate the time consuming and costly guesswork. “It would take only a few hours to a few days, depending on the kinetics of individual drugs, to test many drugs simultaneously using tissue biopsy samples from patients,” she says.
The current prototype is able to test ten different drugs on ten kinds of tumors. Wang says she is looking to scale up the device so that potentially thousands of medications could be tested at one time. This version may be useful to pharmaceutical companies, possibly reducing recalls as well as the need for testing on animal subjects.
This prestigious NSF grant will provide $400,000 over the next five years. Dr. Wang also participated in the 2010 NSF CAREER Award Incentive offered by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. As an awardee, she will receive from CUNY a 10% supplement to her NSF award. Dr. Wang, a biomedical engineer, is collaborating with Dr. Xeujun Jiang, associate professor of cell biology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, on this project.