Northwestern launches Ronald and JoAnne Willens Center for Nano Oncology

Led by Chad A. Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of the IIN, the Willens Center supports interdisciplinary research focused on developing and applying advances in nanotechnology to treat the most aggressive types of cancer.

“The potential for using nanotechnology in the fight against cancer is vast,” Mirkin said. “The generous support from the Willens family is enabling researchers to work toward the development of new medicines that can attack the disease at its genetic roots. Certain types of nanostructures, spherical nucleic acids in particular, can deliver therapeutics into tissues many drugs normally will not enter, including the brain and skin.”

Ron Willens said he and his wife were humbled by the University’s achievements in research. “Ten or 15 years ago, who would have imagined that a tiny submicroscopic particle could be used to transport the means to potentially treat and cure many cancers? With this gift, we are grateful that we are able to contribute to this endeavor where minds can do research, innovate and stretch their imagination to find new frontiers to help humanity,” he said.