"Alpine Biosciences is now a wholly owned subsidiary of
The technology uses man-made nanoparticles to inject huge doses of cancer-killing drugs directly into the heart of tumors without harming healthy tissue.
"We believe that this combination of talent and resources will accelerate the clinical development of the protocell technology and will lead to better therapies for currently intractable diseases," Kuuttila said. "It is incredibly important for health care."
"We believe the acquisition of Alpine and its protocell technology brings to
The protocell technology has been developed over the last four years by a joint team of UNM and Sandia scientists headed by Sandia researcher and UNM professor
The protocell consists of porous nanoparticles that are covered with a protective coating similar to the membranes that surround live cells, plus a protein that allows them to bind specifically with cancer cells.
Researchers load the nanoparticles with cancer-killing drugs and inject them into the bloodstream, where they then drift harmlessly until binding with cancer cells to release their cargo.
In lab studies, the nanoparticles have proven far more robust than similar technology created at other research institutions, making them less likely to break down in the bloodstream and cause damage to healthy tissue.
Moreover, the nanoparticle pores are large enough to fill them with a variety of drugs at high concentrations, allowing doctors to deliver tailor-made drug cocktails that target specific cancers with great potency.
As of last year, UNM had received
Alpine Biotechnology took an option to license the technology last year. At the time, Gold -- a nationally recognized pioneer in emerging cancer-fighting therapies -- said the protocell technology could help revolutionize the battle against cancer.
"This is still early technology, but it's so unique in its capabilities that I believe it will be a game changer for the entire field of oncology," Gold told the Journal in December.
For now, Alpine will maintain a local office at UNM's Science and Technology Park. The local Sandia and UNM scientific team is expected to continue working with the company.
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