The National Cancer Institute founded the NCL in collaboration with FDA and NIST as a public-private partnership to accelerate the development of promising nanotech therapies and diagnostics. The NCL’s initial mission was to develop an “Assay Cascade” of scientific tests that would help determine the reproducibility, safety, and efficacy of nanomedicines to facilitate regulatory review. NCL has helped several nanomedicine formulations enter and progress through clinical trials, including nanoformulations of small molecules, peptides, proteins, siRNAs and plasmids. NCL's years of running studies on multiple nanomaterial formulations has allowed us to accumulate tremendously nuanced knowledge about what works and what doesn't work for nanomedicines. While other academic, industry, or government labs have specialized expertise in one or even a few particular types of nanomaterials, NCL is the only lab with experience testing the wide variety of platforms used in nanomedicine. Since it was founded in 2004, the NCL has tested more than 350 nanomaterials, including almost every type of nanoparticle used in biomedical R&D: metallic, liposomes, polymers, proteins, micelles, DNA and RNA nanostructures, carbon nanotubes, etc.
NCL conducts free preclinical characterization, pharmacokinetic, efficacy, and toxicity testing of promising nanotech cancer therapeutics and diagnostics using the “Assay Cascade”.
In addition to its free testing service (funded by the National Cancer Institute), NCL leverages its experience in support of industry-funded R&D for discovery work, such as nanoformulation, lead optimization and selection, bioanalytical/physicochemical methods development, analytical instrument improvement, and much more. These types of projects are inititated through Contractor Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (cCRADAs) with Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc.