[Illinois] Cancer Community Symposium 2012: Materials Science vs. Metastasis

By Daniel A. Heller

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

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Metastasis, the spread of cancer cells from a primary tumor to seed secondary tumors in distant sites, is one of the greatest challenges in cancer treatment today. For many patients, by the time cancer is detected, metastasis has already occurred. Over 80% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer, for example, present with metastatic disease. Although cancer therapies are improving, many drugs are not reaching the sites of metastases. Methods that are effective for treating large, well-vascularized tumors may be inadequate when dealing with small clusters of disseminated malignant cells. As the biologi­cal mechanisms of metastasis are being unraveled, it is becoming clear that new approaches to treat this condition may become available. The expanding capabilities of the materials sciences, especially in targeting, detection and particle trafficking, will enable novel approaches to treat cancers even after metastatic dissemination. Although the first generation of nano/materials-based drugs has reached the clinic, future systems promise significant advances in targeting metastatic sites and earlier detection through more sensitive imaging techniques.

Cancer Community At Illinois Symposium 2012

April 5-6, 2012: Connecting patient care, research, and scientific advancement

Symposium Premise
This on-campus research symposium aims to bring together members of campus and the surrounding community to foster interdisciplinary discussions on cancer research and its affects on patient care. In order to increase understanding and awareness, we will discuss in an open forum with research talks, poster presentations, and panel discussions. We invite community members, clinicians, and researchers from UIUC and other Midwest regional institutions from departments ranging from the social sciences to basic sciences to engineering and medicine.
The symposium features invited talks from nationally-recognized cancer researchers, oral presentations from UIUC faculty and students, and poster sessions. We encourage student researchers from UIUC and from other regional schools to apply (travel awards are available).

About CC@I Symposium
The Cancer Community at Illinois (CC@I) Symposium is organized by a group of students on the University of Illinois campus to bridge the areas of social science, basic sciences to engineering and medicine as they relate to cancer. The symposium mission is to: 1) Facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and understanding that transcends established departmental affiliation; 2) Foster an increased understanding of the social and environmental factors affecting patients; and 3) Develop unique vantage points afforded by interactive dialogue between and among the various cancer research disciplines. In order to accomplish this, the symposium will engage the local patient community through use of the nascent social and support efforts of the Mills Breast Cancer Institute, Carle Hospital, and regional clinical collaborators.
If you are interested in other CC@I events or the program in general, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Daniel Heller is a Damon Runyon Fellow in Robert S. Langer's laboratory at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. He obtained his BA in History from Rice University in 2000 and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 2010. His work is focused on nanoscale tools for detecting and treating human diseases. He will enter a faculty position at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell Medical School in New York City in 2012.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Daniel A. Heller (2012), "[Illinois] Cancer Community Symposium 2012: Materials Science vs. Metastasis," http://nanohub.org/resources/13947.

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Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL


Obaid Sarvana, NanoBio Node

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign