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.