Missions & Functions
CT3N was established within ITMAT in 2010 under the aegis of the NIH Clinical and Translation Science Award (PENN-CHOP/CTSA) to foster translational efforts in targeting therapeutic and imaging agents. The PENN/CHOP juncture bridges adult and pediatric biomedicine in the realms of CT3N. The center supports research in the preclinical and translational domains by providing a forum for conceiving interdisciplinary multi-investigator projects for extramural funding and via funding intramural CT3N pilot grants.
CT3N organizes an annual Symposium that brings together internal and external experts in drug delivery and targeting as Invited Speakers, members of panel discussions and attendees from PENN, CHOP and regional research institutions. Symposia feature the Keynote lectures given by internationally acclaimed academic and industrial leaders and pioneers.
Through the academic year, the CT3N Seminar Series features monthly talks given by researchers from academia and industry across the country and abroad. CT3N also sponsors invited talks in other seminar series at PENN. Invited speakers spend a whole day meeting CT3N faculty and trainees. Meeting slots for other CT3N members may be arranged upon request.
Educational functions of CT3N include the graduate course CBE/PHRM-564 on Drug Delivery, a course on targeted imaging agents, seminars and weekly journal club for students, post-docs, clinical residents and fellows. CT3N faculty members give work-in-progress presentations on a rotating basis, keeping colleagues and trainees abreast of their research.
Membership & Thematic Portfolio
CT3N membership consists of clinical and basic science researchers from all major regional academic centers and from corporative counterparts, providing an empowering cross-institutional and academia/industry interface.
Drug targeting spans a broad range of disciplines: pharmacological and pharmaceutical sciences, basic biomedical sciences, biotechnology, molecular and chemical bioengineering, chemistry, nanotechnology, imaging, and material sciences. Medical interests and expertise of CT3N researchers include oncology, cardiovascular, metabolic and genetic diseases, neurological diseases and stroke, pulmonary and hematological maladies, among others.
Principal Investigators of about thirty labs in the CHOP and PENN’s Schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dental Medicine, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Applied Sciences are members of the Center. Faculty members from Drexel University, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, Princeton University, Lehigh University, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, and University of Delaware participate in activities of the Center as associate academic members. CT3N members engage in collaborative studies in systems ranging from in silico and standard cell cultures to microfluidics, animal studies, preclinical studies in human organ models and clinical studies.
The thematic portfolio includes:
- Targeting (Chorny, Cines, Davies, Diamond, Discher, Eckmann, Levy, Li, Liu, Muzykantov Ponzc, Radhanakrishnan, Sawicki, Siegel, Sullivan, Tsourkas and others):
- define molecular targets for localized delivery;
- design targeted supramolecular conjugates, recombinant fusion constructs and nanodevices;
- define interactions with cells and tissues including intracellular delivery;
- uncover biological factors modulating targeting;
- devise computational modeling of drug delivery; and,
- test the benefit/risk ratio of targeted therapeutics.
- Materials, Carriers and Nanodevices: (Brodeur, Burdick, Chorny, Composto, Cormode, Diamond, Discher, Dmochowsky, Fishbein, Hammer, Ilies, Janmey, Levy, Liu, Murray, Muzykantov, Percek, Prud’homme, Stachelek, Sullivan, Tsourkas, Wattenbarger and others):
- define effects of scaffolds and matrices on cells;
- design materials for tissue-replacing and regenerative therapies;
- design carriers with controlled geometry, affinity, magnetic features and drug release profile for targeted delivery of drugs ranging from small chemicals to genetic materials.
- Targeted Imaging Probes: (Alavi, Busch, Chen, Cormode, Delikatny, Glickson, Kung, Muzykantov, Rizi, Torigian, Tsourkas, Vinogradov, Zhou and others):
- define novel specific probes for molecular and functional imaging using PET/SPECT, CT/PET, MRI and optical modalities;
- devise means for specific delivery of these probes to pathological sites using affinity, magnetic and physically guided carriers;
- define imaging potential of targeted probes.
- Nanotoxicology and Safety: (Chorny, Composto, Deuchen, Discher, Ischiropoulos, Karpick, Levy, Morrs-Clyne, Muzykantov, Penning, Sullivan, Tsourkas and others):
- define physicochemical properties (shape, size, architecture, surface-charge, surface-volume ratio and composition) of nanodevices and relate these to their adverse cytotoxic effects;
- define cellular interactions and mechanisms of side effects (adhesion, internalization, oxidative stress, apoptosis, inflammation),
- address environmental exposures to nanoparticles;
- engineer non-toxic delivery devices.