The effectiveness of Radiation Therapy is limited by the amount of radiation that can be delivered before severely damaging the surrounding tissue. To combat the potential short and long term toxicity issues associated with radiation therapy, my project will further current cervical cancer brachytherapy research by combining it with chemotherapy. We hypothesize that a combined chemo-radiation therapy approach will not only improve the therapeutic efficacy but also decrease the radiation associated toxicities. Current brachytherapy practices utilize polymeric implants known as ‘spacers’ in between the two radioactive seeds. The sole purpose of this practice is to provide a uniform dose distribution in a tumor. However, preliminary collaborative studies between Northeastern University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have shown that these spacers can be modified with chemotherapeutic drugs, which can improve chemo-radiation therapy. In collaboration with my mentor Dr. Robert Cormack, we propose that the use of a injectable thermogelling hydrogel polymer (poly (N-isopropyl acrylamide)-based) doped with chemotherapeutic drug, Cisplatin, will provide a fast and sustained drug release profile allowing for radio sensitization and better radiation therapy. We plan to investigate the effectiveness of the hydrogel-based polymer composite to radiosensitive tumor cells and provide better therapeutic efficacy while lowering radiation doses and minimizing toxicities in cervical cancer.
CaNCURE provides trainees with a 6-month hands-on research experience and one-on-one mentoring by leading researchers in cancer nanomedicine. Projects performed by current and past participants include:
While on co-op, trainees document their research in an e-portfolio. This gives trainees the opportunity to provide regular updates on their research progress, reflect on training they are receiving, and explain how their research fits within the field of cancer nanomedicine. These research e-portfolios can be accessed through individual trainee profiles. The complete collection may be found here.
Presentation at CaNCURE Nanomedicine Day
At the completion of their co-op, trainees are provided with the opportunity to present their research to a wider audience. In our 1st annual CaNCURE Nanomedicine Day, trainees prepared interactive, digital posters to display on electronic poster boards. Over 100 faculty, students, and researchers attended our first event!
Check out the news article and congrats to all the poster winners!
Jordan Harris: Most Innovative Cancer Research Award
Jeremy Thong: Best Undergraduate Research Poster Award
Craig Pille: Most Promising Translational Research Award
Bryan Kynnap: Most Promising Basic Science Award
Jordan Harris: Top Chemical Engineering Poster Award