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Featured Profile: Raghuraman Kannan

Raghuraman Kannan

Dr. Raghuraman Kannan has combined a background in chemistry, joint appointments in bioengineering and radiology, an entrepreneurial spirit and a collaborative approach into promising oncology research.

Radioactive gold nanoparticles kill cancer cells, but they also kill healthy cells. However, Kannan and his colleague Dr. Kattesh Katti identified a compound found in tea leaves which can be integrated with the gold, so the nanoparticles target tumors without damaging healthy tissue. The two also developed an extensive library of nanoparticles and chemotherapeutics. Kannan’s laboratory, which is focused on developing novel nanomaterials for biomedical applications, developed a diagnostic suite, NSCLC-Suite, for detection and quantification of proteins on the tumor tissue to help oncologists to devise an effective treatment plan for cancer patients. The lab is also developing molecular therapeutic agents for treating Non Small Cell Lung Cancer. Additionally, Kannan has collaborated with University of Missouri medical researchers to create a new imaging tool that detects breast and prostate cancer at early stages. The tool could aid in developing more targeted therapies.

Kannan has written more than fifty papers and holds seven patents. His research has led to four start-up companies which commercialize the nanotechnology he helped develop. His ultimate goal is to see his work being used by doctors to help patients. “Seeing my products getting into clinics – that will be truly satisfying,” he says.

Kannan is the Michael J. and Sharon R. Bukstein Chair in Cancer Research with a joint appointment in the School of Medicine and College of Engineering. He is director of MU’s Nanoparticle Production Core Facility.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine