Cedars Sinai Medical Center
United States of America
Julia Ljubimova, MD, PhD, is director of the Nanomedicine Research Center in the Cedars-Sinai Department of Neurosurgery. Her main interests are differential cancer gene expression as a tool for finding novel and early markers of cancer growth and development, and the design of new nanomedicine drugs against tumor targets. The Nanomedicine Research Center has developed several nanobioconjugates that selectively target brain and breast cancer and thus could have less dose-limiting toxicity than existing therapies. Ljubimova joined the faculty at Cedars-Sinai to direct studies combining basic cancer and translational research for discovering specific tumor markers. One of the novel markers, the structural tumor vessel wall protein laminin-411, is in a clinical trial as a prognostic and diagnostic marker for human glial tumor progression. This discovery led to the development of new technologies for drug delivery and engineering of the new class of imaging and anti-cancer nanomedicines for MRI cancer-specific diagnostics and inhibition of tumor-specific molecular targets. Ljubimova also is studying the influence of air pollution on activation of molecular markers in the brain that can lead to differential expression of genes that play an important role in tumorigenesis. Her studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals including Cancer Research, Cell, The American Journal of Pathology, Angiogenesis, Nanomedicine and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her research is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health along with state and private funds. Current investigations include the drug delivery system passing through the blood-brain barrier to deliver drugs to brain tumors and having the ability to block several cancer-specific tumor markers by using biodegradable nanoconjugate for brain and breast tumors; cancer-specific drug targeting; and development of nano-imaging agents for the brain tumor "virtual biopsy" using MRI.