Research Areas

Micro and Nanotechnology for Cancer Biology and Therapeutics

Alternative name: Micro and Nanotechnology for Drug Screening (MINDS)

[Although this is specific to drug screening]

This program has been launched to bridge the gap between bench and bedside by developing and utilizing cutting edge technologies in two areas:

  • Chip-based microdevices for personalized drug screening or basic research
  • Nanoparticle based drug and biologics delivery to cancer cells

The microdevice chips allow mimicking the in vivo like conditions with greater control over cellular microenvironments and the ability to monitor cell responses in real-time. Currently, Nitin Agrawal, Ph.D., is leading the establishment of an in-house microfabrication facility at Children’s National Research Institute and collaborating with several investigators and clinicians in the areas of high throughput combinatorial drug screening, single cell analysis of cell sickling under microfluidic hypoxic conditions, rapid mapping of peptide libraries against antigen specificity, CSF cytokine detection, etc.

The lipid nanoparticle-based (LNP) delivery systems offer a powerful approach to protect biological material from degradation or renal clearance and deliver them to targeted sites. Similar lipid nanoparticles have been used in the COVID-19 vaccine formulations. At Children’s National, we are developing technologies to optimize synthesis and delivery of LNPs to the tumor sites. The LNPs also hold the potential to cross the blood-brain barrier with enormous implications of treating pediatric as well as adult brain tumors.

Our Team