Jacob Berlin’s research group is focused on the application of nanomaterials for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. As part of City of Hope’s “bench-to-bedside” continuum, the Berlin lab is committed to developing novel therapies that will change patients’ outcomes. City of Hope is a world leader in clinical trials and with on-campus facilities capable of producing materials suitable for clinical trial use, the Berlin lab is focused on getting nanoparticle treatments into the clinic in a rapid manner.
Selective drug action on cancerous cells is the future of cancer therapy. Current targeting methodologies for nanoparticles usually result in an increase in tumor accumulation relative to non-targeted particles, but the majority of both classes accumulate in the liver and spleen. We are developing novel responsive nanoparticle coatings that result in more specific tumor accumulation. We are also interested in new antibody selection techniques to improve their efficacy when conjugated to nanoparticles.
In a parallel effort, we are investigating new classes of particles that allow effective delivery of biopolymer therapeutics. We are interested in preparing nanoparticles that hide the biopolymer payload from detection and destruction while in the blood stream and then release this payload once a cancerous cell is detected. As part of this work, we are also developing methodologies to control the assembly of very small nanoparticles into well defined larger nanoparticles.
We are also interested in evaluating side by side nanoparticles prepared from different materials. Most current studies focus on the efficacy of nanoparticles of just one type (i.e. gold, carbon, silica, etc). We believe that it is important to evaluate a variety of materials in one model to better understand what role the composition of the nanoparticles plays in their therapeutic utility.