Immigrant of the Day: Zhen Gu – Cancer Researcher

Posted on: December 6th, 2015
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China-born scientist Zhen Gu of the University of North Carolina is part of a team that has made a remarkable discovery that could have important implications in the fight against cancer. From the British newspaper The Independent:

Scientists have created tiny metal “nanoterminators” that they hope can carry cancer drugs straight to the problem cells.

The researchers hope that the new solution can allow doctors to send treatments much more quickly to their target, potentially allowing for the treatemnet of cancer much more effectively.

The new development uses a liquid metal that is placed in a solution and then into the bloodstream, where it can attach itself to cancer cells and kill them off. Once that is done, the metal can then biodegrade.

“The advance here is that we have a drug-delivery technique that may enhance the effectiveness of the drugs being delivered, can help doctors locate tumors, can be produced in bulk, and appears to be wholly biodegradable with very low toxicity,” said Zhen Gu, one of the authors of the paper, in a statement. “And one of the advantages of this technique is that these liquid metal drug carriers – or ‘nano-terminators’ – are very easy to make.”

Professor Gu’s article describing the findings is included in the journal Nature Communications. He earned his bachelors and masters degrees at Nanjing University in China and his Ph.D. at UCLA. He was a research fellow at MIT and Harvard Medical School before becoming a professor at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.