We use the dendritic polymer architecture for the development of new therapeutics that are directly targeted to cancer cells and that largely bypass healthy cells. Clusters of the polymers can be combined in more complex structures having several different subunits, each with its own function. We are presently expanding this technology by developing single–function dendrimer modules linked by complementary oligonucleotides. This allows targeting, imaging, and therapeutic dendrimers to be combined into multifunctional therapeutics customized to a specific patient's needs.
We also use dendritic polymers for the development of nanosensor/NEMS systems for non-invasive, continuous monitoring of astronauts for the biologic effects of space travel.
Our work on methods of using fluorescent probes to identify cancer signatures and the biological activities of cancer cells also holds great promise. A novel, dual–clad photonic crystal fiber fluorescence analysis of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo can facilitate clinical evaluation of fluorescence signals in vivo, using several fluorescence techniques.
Finally, MRI and SQUID imaging using targeted magnetic nanoparticle contrast agents allows the imaging of pre–clinical lesions and paves the way for intracellular delivery of functional imaging agents.