Dr. Jennifer Shell was awarded grant funding from the Norris Cotton Cancer Center for her proposed project, “Tumor Targeting Vitamin B12 Derivatives for X-Ray Activated Chemotherapy.” One of 12 proposals submitted, this project received $50,000 for one year. Dr. Shell will work with Dr. Brian Pogue, a PDT and radiotherapy expert, Dr. David Gladstone, who has expertise in medical physics, and Dr. Lesley Jarvis, a specialist in clinical radiotherapy.
The project builds off a novel delivery platform the group developed in which a chemotherapy drug is conjugated to an alkylcobalamin scaffold, a derivative of vitamin B12, and both are transported into cells by receptors. Since pancreatic cancer has an abundance of these receptors, the study will focus on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Because systemically delivered chemotherapy agents cause significant side effects, this study uses targets drug delivery to the tumor to minimize the untargeted systemic effects. In addition, the team’s alkylcobalamin scaffold is photo-activatable so that light can be used to activate the compound and release the chemotherapy selectively in the tumor. The approach is called photopharmaceutical therapy (PPT).
Thayer School of Engineering PhD student Muhammad Ramish Ashraf’s abstract was voted top three in The Radiosurgery Society Annual Scientific Meeting – Best Abstract by a Physics Resident Challenge. He will present his paper at the society’s 2019 meeting in San Diego. We join The Radiosurgery Society in congratulating Ramish!
A $3 million grant was recently awarded by the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Combat Casualty Care Research Program to a team of researchers from the Thayer School of Engineering, the Geisel School of Medicine, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) Emergency Department. Professor Jonathan Elliott is member of this team of doctors and researchers working on developing a non-invasive system that can help doctors in hospitals as well as military setting detect internal hemorrhaging in trauma patients that are otherwise stable.
Dr. Elliott’s role is to develop a new light sensor that will allow the device to detect internal injuries by determining the amount of oxygen in the patient’s blood. The device will also use spectrometers to detect physiological changes in the patient’s body that are related to shock.
This ground-breaking project was inspired by information from military doctors who treat battlefield patients who initially appear to be stable but then deteriorate due to internal bleeding that cannot be readily detected.
At the Photonics Ireland 2018 conference, Thayer School of Engineering PhD student Samuel Streeter was the runner-up prize winner in the SPIE-sponsored poster contest. His poster was entitled “Exploring texture analysis methods for high spatial frequency structured light imagery of tumour tissue.”
Dr. Andrew Brown, Senior Director of Global Business Development at SPIE, awarded the prizes based on their scientific content, visual presentation and presentation by the students during the poster session. This year’s winners came from a very competitive field. Congratulations Sam!
Physics World recently published a story about Thayer School of Engineering graduate Jacqueline Andreozzi, PhD, and her presentation at the 2018 AAPM Annual Meeting on the use of Cherenkov imaging for beam measurements in a MR-linear accelerator.
Jacqueline and the Dartmouth research team used a MR-linac to irradiate a water tank and measured Cherenkov emissions with an intensified CMOS sensor. Using a remote triggering device, they synchronized the acquired images to the radiation pulses from the MR-linac. Because the CMOS sensor can more easily collect red/near-infrared photons, the Dartmouth team demonstrated through these simulations that the number of detected Cherenkov photons is proportional to radiation dose.
Dr. Andreozzi concluded that Cherenkov imaging is a MR-compatible method for measuring MR-linac doses that is both rapid and repeatable. Importantly, Cherenkov imaging also has the potential for expansion to small beam dosimetry.
Jacqueline is now a Medical Physics Resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Florida.
Congratulations to Optics in Medicine faculty member and Assistant Professor at Geisel School of Medicine Kimberley Samkoe, PhD on receiving an R37 Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The R37 MERIT Award enables NCI-funded Early Stage Investigators to obtain an expedited 2-years of funding in addition to an already funded 5-year R01 award.
Dr. Samkoe’s R37 MERIT Award is entitled, “Paired-Agent Imaging for Resection during Surgery (PAIRS) for Head and Neck Cancers” and focuses on improving outcomes of patients with head and neck cancers by refining the surgeon’s ability to remove all residual cancer cells. The proposed paired-agent imaging technique uses plasma transport kinetics to separate the signals of a tumor-targeted molecular imaging agent and a non-targeted control agent, isolating true molecular-bound signal. If successful, this technology will ultimately allow clinicians to identify and remove residual cancer cells at the boundary where tumor meets normal tissue; thus, maximizing patient survival and reducing life-long surgery-induced complications.