|Wednesday, October 06|
Same Gold, Different Signals, Better Photoacoustic Molecular Imaging
* Yun-Sheng Chen, University of Illinois, United States
Photoacoustic molecular imaging is a non-ionizing imaging modality that provides cellular and molecular signatures of tissue by using exogenous contrast agents. Tremendous effort has been invested in developing efficient photoacoustic imaging agents for minimizing potential toxicity. Gold nanoparticles provide a broad spectrum of optical and biochemical properties by engineering the sizes, shapes, and surface chemistry. They have been widely used in targeted molecular imaging and therapy. The strong optical absorption of gold nanoparticles is especially appealing in photoacoustic imaging. In this webinar, I will discuss how to engineer the nanostructures of gold nanoparticles that will significantly enhance the photoacoustic signals and the light-to-sound energy conversion efficiency. I will also talk about a dynamic contrast imaging approach to further amplify the photoacoustic contrast for cancer diagnosis in vivo.
Cancer nanomedicine: Overcoming the challenges in current radiotherapy using gold nanoparticles
* Devika B. Chithrani, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, Canada
Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. In 2018, there were 18.1 million new cases and 9.5 million cancer-related deaths worldwide. By 2040, the number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 29.5 million and the number of cancer-related deaths to 16.4 million. Approximately 50 percent of all cancer patients can benefit from radiotherapy in the management of their disease; of these, approximately half present early enough to pursue curative intent. The major limitation to reaching a curative RT dose in high-risk (locally advanced) non-metastatic tumors is the high sensitivity to radiation and subsequent damage to the surrounding normal tissues. Currently, we are at the limit of radiotherapy dose given to patients, creating a clear need for novel methods to enhance it to further improve the survival while reducing side effects. In an effort towards reducing the side effects while increasing the damage to the tumour, targeting of high atomic number materials such as gold nanoparticles (GNPs) as radiosensitizers to the tumour tissue has shown promising results. Moving forward, understanding of the complex biological system present in and around the tumour is essential for optimizing the use of the radiosensitizing GNPs, as outlined by a consortium of labs, including our own. In this talk, I will discuss the importance of using GNP-based novel strategies to overcome current challenges imposed by the tumour microenvironment.