By Wendy Sarubbi | December 1, 2014 5:00 pm

Finding a cure for cancer has been a dream of researcher Dr. Annette Khlaled, associate professor of the medical school’s Burnett School of Biological Sciences since she was a teenager. With the help of fellow researcher Dr. Manuel Perez of UCF Nano Science Technology and a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, she is one step closer to her goal of finding a cure for the deadly disease.

Dr. Khaled was featured on WOFL FOX 35 recently for her efforts to find a way to kill metastasized cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body from the primary tumor. Once such cells spread, they invade other organs like the liver and brain, and are a veritable death sentence for cancer patients.

In her interview with FOX, which aired November 20, Dr. Khaled explained that she already has developed a peptide, CT-20, which is effective in killing cancer cells. But she lacked a viable delivery method for getting the drug to the infected areas of the body. So she worked in collaboration with Dr. Perez, who specializes in using nano technology, to encapsulate the peptide within nano particles. There, the drug can be protected and directed to cancer cells in the body.

The researchers will test and gather data over the next four years in the hope of being to take the findings to the next level of research and eventually to human trials. It could be at least 10 years before the drug would be available for patients.

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