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Houston health care leaders announce new hub for cancer-fighting bioengineering

The new collaborative hub will foster research into cell therapies, artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies, and more. Photo via

Two Houston organizations recently announced a new hub that will focus on developing cell therapies, nanotechnologies, cancer vaccines, artificial intelligence, and molecular imaging.

Rice University and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have teamed up to “drive industry growth and advance life-saving technologies” through the newly established Cancer Bioengineering Collaborative, according to a news release announcing the initiative.

The collaboration between the two institutions includes fundamental and translational cancer research, developing new technologies for cancer detection and therapy, and securing external funding in support of further research and training.

Leading the hub will be Rice researcher and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) scholar Gang Bao and MD Anderson’s Dr. Jeffrey Molldrem.

“There is tremendous potential in bringing together experts in engineering and cancer as part of this focused, collaborative framework that is truly unique, not only owing to the complementary nature of the respective strengths but also because this is the first formal joint research initiative of its kind between the two institutions,” says Bao, department chair and Foyt Family Professor of Bioengineering, professor of chemistry, materials science and nanoengineering and mechanical engineering, in the release.

The joint effort will also host monthly seminars focused on cancer bioengineering, annual retreats to highlight research and international leaders in cancer and bioengineering, and also a seed grant program to fund research projects in the early stages of development.

“From fundamental discoveries in cancer science, tumor immunology and patient care to innovative engineering advances in drug delivery systems, nanostructures and synthetic biology, there is great potential for enabling cross-disciplinary collaboration to develop new technologies and approaches for detecting, monitoring and treating cancer,” Molldrem, chair of Hematopoietic Biology & Malignancy at MD Anderson, says in the release. “Our goal is to bridge the gap between bioengineering and cancer research to create transformative solutions that significantly improve patient outcomes.”

Dr. Jeff Molldrem (left) and Gang Bao will lead the new collaborative hub. Photo via MD Anderson

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