Jim Adair, developed “Nano-Jackets” to enhance cancer treatments
Dr. Jim Adair knows what it means to be a fighter.
On top of his responsibilities as a Penn State professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Jim intimately understands the many challenges associated with undergoing current cancer treatment methods – as well as the impact cancer can have on one's life and family.
In 2005, Jim co-founded Keystone Nano, Inc., a tech-based corporation near State College focused on the development of a unique nano-particle used for enhanced cancer therapies and treatment. He – along with co-founders Dr. Mark Kester and Jeff Davidson, and a team of colleagues from Penn State and the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center – developed "Nano-Jackets" as a drug delivery system designed to address problems with current cancer therapies, such as high toxicity or limited ability to penetrate biological barriers. This development allowed Jim and his team to create a special “skin” that releases chemotheratics directly to the cancer cells, an advanced therapy method that may help make cancer treatment more effective with far fewer side effects than patients currently experience.
His efforts, however, became even more personal when he and his wife were diagnosed separately with cancer in 2008 and 2007, respectively, and the fight continues on today. Jim remains cancer-free four years after his diagnosis of Stage Three colon cancer, and his wife has been cancer-free for five years (they describe their follow-up treatments as “one-stop oncology shopping” at the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute!).
Jim is also one of the primary developers of the mesoscale (sub-millimeter) manufacturing for small devices, as part of a collaboration between more than seven professors in Penn State’s Colleges of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, with funding from the National Institutes of Health. This translational medical team developed a new way to design and manufacture ever smaller, multifunctional surgical instruments, which promise the development of less invasive surgical intervention for a variety of treatments, including cancer.
Jim and the team are determined to continue pressing forward and revolutionize cancer and disease treatment as we know it. The College of Medicine recently received a $1 million research grant to assess Nano-Jacket’s potential and conduct preclinical trials, and we’re eager to watch this effort unfold and help cancer patients throughout the region.