The Science Center on Wednesday announced it will give a total of $600,000 to three area researchers with unproven but promising concepts for cancer treatment and diagnosis.
The nonprofit center, located in University City, provides funding and business advice for academic researchers who are at an early stage of developing life science technologies that have potential for commercial success. The decade-old proof-of-concept grant program has awarded $8 million, resulting in 18 startups or licensing deals.
The latest awardees will each receive $200,000 and support from the center’s network of industry experts:
- Ian Henrich, a postdoctoral researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is studying the use of enzyme encoded by the USP6 gene to stimulate the immune system against cancer cells. The first target is acute myeloid leukemia.
- Emily Day, a bioengineer at the University of Delaware, is studying the use of nanoparticles to deliver molecules that turn off specific genes to blood stem cells. The technology could improve the understanding of blood stem cells, and potentially treat blood disorders including cancer, HIV, and sickle cell disease.
- Haim H. Bau, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, has invented a method for enriching DNA fragments collected from body fluid samples. This could advance the ability to detect cancer early, prescribe targeted drugs, and monitor for drug resistance using a blood sample.