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Supporting transatlantic partnerships around research and higher education.

French-American Collaboration Targets Cancer with Nanoparticles

The One and Two-Photon Nanovalves PUF project investigates nanoparticles that deliver anticancer drugs to cancerous cells and has led to the development of a revolutionary cancer-fighting technique.

The collaborators have even established a university degree for the study of nanovalves. This exciting project has been coordinated by Dr. Jean-Olivier Durand, researcher at CNRS, for Université Montpellier 2 and Jeffrey I. Zink, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of California at Los Angeles. With promising preliminary results, the nanovalve research could be extremely helpful for treating certain types of cancers, since it increases the efficiency of cancer-killing drugs and contributes to the overall well-being of the patient by protecting healthy tissue. The partners operated a nanomachine that uses tissue-penetrating light to open up tiny nanovalves in cancerous cells and makes them susceptible to receiving chemotherapy drugs while leaving healthy cells unscathed.

In line with PUF's mission to create new French-American educational opportunities, the successful project also established a university diploma for which 13 French and American faculty have given more than 22 courses and lectures relating to nanovalves. More than 40 students have benefited from the curriculum to date. The educational and scientific success of the project is a result of the combined expertise of the French team in the areas of 2-photon photochemistry and photophysics and the American team in the area of multifunctional nanoparticles with pore openings.

The Partner University Fund helped foster this close collaboration, uniting 44 students and 15 faculty and researchers over 3 years. It supported international exchanges among the researchers, bringing 9 French and American students and 11 French and American faculty researchers across the Atlantic - for as many as seven months at a time - for joint research, team meetings, workshops and conferences.

Thanks to the international cooperation encouraged by the PUF grant, this project generated four joint articles, with the most recent published in Small. The researchers have also secured an ANR grant to encourage the growth of their collaboration.



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