MAR 16, 2018 11:00 AM PDT

Laser-activated Nano-therapy Kills Cancer in Trials

WRITTEN BY: Julia Travers

Multidisciplinary Physicist Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green received a $1.1 million research award to further develop a unique LANT (laser-activated nano-therapy) multicancer treatment. In trials with mice, this method targeted cancer cells and was able to spare healthy surrounding cells with great success. This treatment does not bring with it the difficult side effects that come with many traditional cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. Green believes this LANT will evolve into an effective outpatient treatment for many types of cancer.

The LANT system, which Green spent seven years developing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is a three-part targeting, imaging and treatment process. In her own explanation, this system,

“enables the combination of tumor receptor site targeting, targeted nanoparticle delivery, fluorescent imaging and laser-activated nanoparticle therapy that results in marked tumor regression in mice.”

During the treatment, Food and Drug Administration approved nano-particles cause the cancer cells to fluoresce when viewed with imaging equipment. A laser then activates and heats the nanoparticles, creating a thermal death for the cancer cells. The laser and nanoparticles are both harmless when not combined, which Green explains boosts the treatment’s ability to target cancer cells and avoid healthy cells.

While the use of lasers and nanoparticles in cancer treatment has been previously studied, Green’s successful nanoparticle delivery and live-animal tumor reduction rates stand out. 

Her report shares that mice showed “~100 percent tumor regression (shrinkage) over 15 days after one laser-activated nano-therapy treatment.” The visible absence of the mouse tumor after 15 days was confirmed by a board certified pathologist. 

LANT results, credit: https://weareoralee.org/

Her summary report has an inspiring title: “Shining Light on a Big Problem with a Really Small Solution.” She shares with Al.com, “As a physicist, I’ve created a physical treatment that is not specific to the biology of the cancer. It’s a platform technology.” 

In StyleBlueprint, Green explains:

I want to be a good steward over this [cancer-fighting laser] and I want it to be available to people that don’t have insurance, to people that are underinsured, who may not have other alternatives, who can’t afford the pharmaceuticals, who have been sent home to die.

The $1.1 million in research funding she received in 2016 comes in the form of a Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Scientist Training Program Career Development Award from the VA Office of Research and Development. 

Dr. Green, credit: Dr. Green on Facebook

Green hopes and plans that within about three to five years, her unique LANT process will be a proven photo-nano-therapy treatment for many types of cancers, including cervical, bladder, breast, ovarian, skin, colorectal, prostate and pancreatic. It is intended to be used as both an initial and adjuvant therapy and as a more affordable, minimally invasive outpatient treatment with minimal side effects. This 34-year-old is one of the fewer than 100 African-American female physicists in the country. She has extensive personal experience dealing with cancer within her family, which drove her research into cancer treatment. 

You can follow Physicist Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green’s work on her website, physics2cancer.org. She was also featured on the History channel, where she shared this message with anyone who is “tired of the way cancer is being treated: Stand up and fight with me!”

About the Author
  • Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher. She frequently covers science, tech and conservation.
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