Selective treatment and imaging of cancer micrometastases

Molecular-targeted, activatable probes are emerging for optical biopsy of cancer. An underexplored potential clinical use of this approach is to monitor and treat residual cancer micrometastases that escape surgery and chemotherapy. This talk will introduce a new platform for activatable phototherapy and in vivo imaging of residual metastases that enables high-fidelity imaging and treatment of cancer cells. Optically active nanomaterials—that use light as both a drug release mechanism and as a cytotoxic modality—are an emerging component of this approach and will also be introduced.

SpringBryan Spring, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Physics in Northeastern University.  His research bridges biophysics, biomedical optics and cancer biology to selectively target micrometastases left behind by standard therapies that limit our ability to cure many cancers. Optical spectroscopic imaging and photophysics are applied to visualize and mop up these residual tumors. The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce cancer recurrence and mortality by establishing new approaches for personalized medicine that address tumor heterogeneity, drug-resistance and molecular mechanisms of treatment escape. Advanced-stage cancer patients are presently subjected to a grueling treatment regimen consisting of surgical tumor debulking and high-dose-intensity chemotherapy. These standard approaches frequently hit a wall due to dose-limiting toxicities as well as mechanisms of drug-resistance and treatment escape via cell signaling networks.