Scientific breakthroughs don’t always happen in labs. For Sophia and Richard Lunt, Michigan State University researchers, many of their breakthroughs happen during neighborhood walks.
The married couple’s step-by-step approach has revealed a new way to detect and attack cancer cells using technology traditionally reserved for solar power. The results, published in the current issue of Scientific Reports, showcases dramatic improvements in light-activated fluorescent dyes for disease diagnosis, image-guided surgery and site-specific tumor treatment.
“We’ve tested this concept in breast, lung cancer and skin cancer cell lines and mouse models, and so far it’s all looking remarkably promising,” said Sophia, MSU biochemistry and molecular biologist.
While the cancer applications hold the most possibility, their findings have potential beyond the field of oncology, said Richard, the Johansen Crosby Endowed Professor of chemical engineering and materials science.
“This work has the potential to transform fluorescent probes for broad societal impact through applications ranging from biomedicine to photocatalysis – the acceleration of chemical reactions with light,” he said. “Our solar research inspired this cancer project, and in turn, focusing on cancer cells has advanced our solar cell research; it’s been an amazing feedback loop.”
Prior to the Lunts’ combined effort, fluorescent dyes used for therapeutics and diagnostics, aka “theranostics,” had shortcomings, such as low brightness, high toxicity to cells, poor tissue penetration and unwanted side effects.
By optoelectronically tuning organic salt nanoparticles used as theranostics, the Lunts were able to control them in a range of cancer studies. Coaxing the nanoparticles into the nontoxic zone resulted in enhanced imaging, while pushing them into the phototoxic – or light-activated – range produced effective on-site tumor treatment.
The key was learning to control the electronics of their photoactive molecules independently from their optical properties and then making the leap to apply this understanding in a new way to a seemingly unrelated field.
Richard had recently discovered the ability to electronically tune these salts from his work in converting photovoltaics into solar glass.
Sophia had long studied metabolic pathways unique to cancer cells. It was when the Lunts were discussing solar glass during a walk that they made the connection: Molecules active in the solar cells might also be used to more effectively target and kill cancer cells.
A journey of 1,000 miles
Their walks had rather unscientific beginnings. Shortly after the Lunts met at Princeton University, Richard moved to another university. To maintain their long-distance relationship, they scheduled daily phone calls. Upon their arrival at MSU, individual academic career demands replaced geographic distance as a challenge to their busy lives.
To connect daily, they take CEO-style walks together every evening. The two-mile saunters take place rain or shine, and they often engage in scientific discussions. The three keys to their walks are intentional curiosity, perseverance and the merging of different fields and perspectives, Sophia said.
“We talk science, strategic plans for our careers and our various grants,” she said. “We ping ideas off each other. Our continual conversations brainstorming ideas on a particular topic or challenge often lead to those exciting ‘aha’ moments.”
Their walks have helped them push through many challenges.
“Our first experiments did not turn out as expected; I’m surprised that we didn’t give up given how crazy the idea seemed at first,” Richard said. “Figuring out how to do this research took many walks.”
Obviously, the results were worth the hike. Today, Richard designs the molecules; Babak Borhan, MSU chemist, synthesizes and improves them; and Sophia tests their photoactive inventions in cancer cell lines and mouse models.
Future research will work to improve the theranostics’ effectiveness, decrease toxicity and reduce side effects. The Lunts have applied for a patent for their work, and they’re looking forward to eventually pushing their photoactive molecule findings through clinical trials.
“Though that will take many more walks,” Richard said with a smile.
Learn more: CAN SOLAR TECHNOLOGY KILL CANCER CELLS?
The Latest on: Theranostics
via Google News
The Latest on: Theranostics
- Theradiag Reports Significant Improvement in 2019 Full-year Resultson March 18, 2020 at 9:48 am
2019 revenue up 10.3% for theranostics and up 6.4% for IVD Continued improvement in operating income and net income before non-recurring items Positive net income partly driven by non-recurring ...
- Call for Papers: International Conference on Molecular Imaging and Clinical PET–CT in Novemberon March 17, 2020 at 4:04 am
The conference will focus on theranostics, a patient-centred and personalized form of care, coupling diagnostics and therapy, which enables medical professionals to focus on the specific needs of ...
- Versatile iron cobalt nanoparticles for theranosticson March 12, 2020 at 9:12 am
The photothermal and magnetothermal properties of carbon-coated iron cobalt nanoparticles with a polymer shell make them sensitive tracers for in vivo magnetic particle imaging, magnetic resonance ...
- The power of patient voice in clinical trial designon March 9, 2020 at 5:10 am
Harry holds an MBA from Boston University and a bachelor's degree from San Francisco State University. Harry has addressed the NIH, Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference, World Theranostics Congress and ...
- Search results for theranosticson March 4, 2020 at 4:00 pm
In 1900, German physician Paul Ehrlich came up with the notion of a "magic bullet." The basic idea is to inject a patient with smart particles capable of finding, recognizing, and treating a ...
- Pharmacogenomics Technology/Theranostics/Companion Diagnostics Market Size to Surpass US$ 6615.9 million By 2025on March 3, 2020 at 1:17 am
Growth forecast report " Pharmacogenomics Technology/Theranostics/Companion Diagnostics (CDx) Market size by Product Type (PCR, In-situ Hybridization, Immunohistochemistry, Sequencing, Others and etc) ...
- Theranostics Market Size, Growth Forecast is Projected to be Around US $20.52 Billion by 2026on March 2, 2020 at 4:43 am
Market Study Report Has Added A New Report On Theranostics Market That Provides A Comprehensive Review Of This Industry With Respect To The Driving Forces Influencing The Market Size. Comprising The ...
- BUSINESSES TO KNOW: NCS offer leading-edge treatment close to homeon February 29, 2020 at 1:08 pm
As a regional leader in cancer diagnosis, treatment and research, that’s what Nebraska Cancer Specialists can offer with theranostics. Theranostics is the newest form of cancer therapy ...
- BUSINESSES TO KNOW: NCS helps patients with theranosticson February 29, 2020 at 1:08 pm
Mehr is director of systemic radiation therapy and theranostics at Nebraska Cancer Specialists. Theranostics is a highly targeted therapy that directly attacks the tumor. “We find a molecule ...
- PENTIXAPHARM Secures € 15 Million Series A Financing to Develop CXCR4-Targeted Theranosticson February 6, 2020 at 4:20 am
PentixaPharm announced today to have secured € 15 million in a series A financing round led by ELSA Eckert Life Science Accelerator. PentixaPharm GmbH, a joint venture of Scintomics GmbH and ...
via Bing News