Almost everyone has a relative or friend who has been diagnosed with cancer and has seen the effect this can have on the patient and family. After diagnosis, if you know where the cancer is in the body and it has not spread, it can be surgically removed. But, if cancer has spread, then often chemotherapy is given to kill the disease. Unfortunately, chemotherapy itself can have toxic side effects. Also, very often cancer evolves during treatment and becomes resistant requiring a different drug to be used.
In our lab, we are developing technologies to specifically target the cancer and avoid side-effects. We are visualizing the drug that goes inside the body to ensure that it is reaching the intended target and also, to be able to monitor the patient and detect more quickly if drug resistance has occurred.
This process is called Imaging Guided Therapy, or Image-Guided Drug Delivery. Molecular Imaging allows visualization, of not only organs but also biochemical processes that are associated with them. This information can improve the accuracy of a diagnosis, provide a better assessment of the severity of disease and even monitor the response to therapy.
Our research looks to develop drug-polymer conjugates and micro and nanoparticles for combined imaging and targeted delivery of the chemotherapy. We have developed Near-Infrared Fluorescent and radio-chemicals that report regional metabolic and functional information from organs and tumors. We are also developing image processing tools for automatic segmentation and registration of organs and tumors to improve image quality and provide better information to the doctor for more accurate diagnosis and treatment planning
In collaboration with the Miami Cancer Research Center
Nanoparticles, Nano Medicine & Theranostics
Drug Transport & Delivery
Schematic of the Enhanced Permeation and Retention (EPR) Effect.