Ifeanyi Mbanugo with Dr. Ross Berbeco (DFCI)
Radiation is one of the most commonly used methods to treat cancer. Our research aims to use nanoparticles (NP) to increase the effects of radiation, and in turn, to accelerate tumor shrinkage. This works by the use of the photoelectric effect, which is a phenomenon observed when radiation directed to a material forces the emission of electrons, called photoelectrons, that help contribute to cancer cell death. We have specialized gadolinium-based nanoparticles for which previous studies have shown effectiveness in accelerating tumor shrinkage. This effectiveness is due to the high atomic number of the gadolinium atoms in the nanoparticle, which in turn means more electrons to be emitted. For this project, NPs are synthesized with bismuth atoms to hopefully further increase the photoelectrons emitted. Clonogenic survival in lung cancer cells incubated with AGuIX or Bi@AGuIX NPs will be assessed in vitro following radiation. By comparing the survival of cancer cells incubated with NPs prior to radiation, to that of cells that only undergo radiation, we can determine the optimal NP composition for clinical trials.