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Last Updated: 05/27/2021

NCI Convenes Moonshot℠ Workshop on Enhancing Systemic Drug Delivery to Tumors

The NCI Moonshot Workshop on Enhancing Systemic Drug Delivery to Tumors was held April 26-27, 2021. This workshop was organized under the Cancer Moonshot℠, which aims to accelerate scientific discovery in cancer, foster greater collaboration, and improve the sharing of data.


Although several methods to enhance the delivery and accumulation of drugs at the tumor site are available, they are not always successful. These methods usually rely on specific delivery platforms, modifying the tumor microenvironment, or applying companion diagnostic tools to identify people who may respond to a particular treatment. Cancer treatments continue to improve, but the control of drug pharmacokinetics and biodistribution for effective delivery continues to be challenging.


Assess current techniques and approaches in systemic drug delivery in the context of improving cancer treatment modalities


  • How to deliver cancer therapies — different modalities, different needs
  • Drug delivery technologies
  • Cancer immunotherapy — delivery and treatment outcomes


Topic Discussion Points
Heterogeneity and multi-focality in prostate cancers Diagnosis through imaging and treatment planning is important
RNA interference (RNAi) therapies for non-druggable targets Nanoparticles enable delivery
Multi-targeted cancer theranostics Genetically encoded agents can be used for therapeutic monitoring and efficacy
Ligand-targeted treatments Range of use: fluorescence-guided surgery, targeted radiotherapeutics, reprogramming tumor-infiltrating immune cells
Doxil (Doxorubicin HCl encapsulated in liposomes) An ovarian cancer patient received 115 cycles (40mg/m2) during 9 years and had stable disease with no signs of cardiac toxicity
Combination therapies Radiation has the potential to overcome biological barriers that limit response to immunotherapies
New delivery strategies to tumors ‘Cellular hitchhiking’ — nanoparticles are attached to circulating cells for drug delivery

Organizing Committee

Rose Aurigemma, PhD, Developmental Therapeutics Program, DCTD
Piotr Grodzinski, PhD, Cancer Imaging Program, DCTD
Lalitha Shankar, MD, PhD, Cancer Imaging Program, DCTD
Stephan Stern, PhD, Nanotechnology Characterization Lab, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research

For more information on the workshop presentations, please contact Dr. Piotr Grodzinski (