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VT receives 1.1M grant to help treat brain tumors

Wednesday, January 10, 2018  
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A $1.1 million grant to Virginia Tech will support a medical device that uses low-energy electrical fields to treat cancerous brain tumors.

The funding from the Virginia Research Investment Fund to support technologies developed at state universities with strong commercial projects.

The research will be conducted by a team of Virginia Tech professors with collaboration from the University of Virginia and private company VoltMed Inc., according to an application for funding submitted by Tech biomedical engineering and mechanics professor and principal investigator of the project Rafael Davalos.

The grant is funding research to treat tumors that commonly lead to the death of people under the age of 20. The research will focus on irreversible electroporation, which essentially opens a cancer cell’s pores using electronic pulses allowing medicine to be better received by the cell.

“Anyone who has lost a loved one from cancer understands the importance of this breakthrough,” Theresa Mayer, vice president for Research and Innovation at Virginia Tech said in a statement. “We cannot prevent cancer, but we are developing the weapons that allow us to defeat it. We are improving the human condition.”

The research fund was created in 2016 by the General Assembly which allocated $12 million for research funding and $29 million in bonding authority.

“Virginia’s colleges and universities have a strong record of research and state-of-the-art technologies and I am proud that we are able to support the important work they are doing,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in the news release. “Projects like this one at Virginia Tech demonstrate how innovation in the laboratory and in the marketplace can work together to advance the new Virginia economy.”

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