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2009 Research Grant Recipients


Charles J. Gomer, Ph.D.

Children’s Hospital

Los Angeles, CA

Supporting ASLMS Member

J. Stuart Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.

“Circulating Endothelial Cells and Circulating Endothelial Progenitors as Biomarkers of Photodynamic Therapy Response”

The specific objectives of our proposal are to determine if CEC and CEP levels can provide a rapid, reproducible, non-invasive, and clinically relevant prognostic assessment of PDT effectiveness and if targeting CEPs can enhance PDT efficacy. We hypothesize that CEC and CEP measurements will be effective in predicting the efficiency of PDT treatments. CEC levels will serve as a marker of PDT induced vascular damage while CEP levels will serve as a marker for post-treatment disease recurrence induced by angiogenesis and vasculogenesis. We also hypothesize that targeting CEPs at the time of PDT will improve responsiveness in treated tumors by blocking CEP directed angiogenesis and vasculogenesis.



Eduardo H. Moriyama, BSc, MSc, Ph.D.

Ontario Cancer Institute

Toronto, Canada

Supporting ASLMS Member

James E. Boggan, M.D.

“Novel Optical Probes for Image-Guided Tumor Resection and Photodynamic Therapy Based on Glucose Transporters”

Tumors often present a shift in metabolism to a less efficient glycolysis. This has been employed diagnostically, using Fluorodeoxy-D-Glucose Positron Emission Tomography (FDG-PET). We propose to synthesize fluorescently-labeled deoxyglucose analogues (F*-DG), whose potential usefulness is 2-fold. Firstly, they could provide high contrast for fluorescence imaging, in particular to improve fluorescence image guided resection (FGR) of tumors. FGR effectively ‘extends the surgeon’s vision’, so that small amounts of residual tumor that are not normally visible can be detected and removed. We will develop this initially for brain tumors, building on previous work, but the concept is widely applicable to any solid tumor that invades the normal host tissue, such as oral tumors that will be a second target. Secondly, we will test the performance of F*-DG probes as photodynamic sensitizers to improve the effectiveness and selectivity of PDT in these tumors.


James Tunnell, Ph.D.

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX

Supporting ASLMS Member

Bahman Anvari, Ph.D.

~ Recipient of ASLMS Funding in 2008 and 2009 ~

"Multiphoton Imaging and Photothermal Therapy of Tumors Using Nanoshells - Year Two"

This project seeks to develop nanoshells as combined luminescence imaging and photothermal therapy agents of tumors. We have demonstrated that gold/silica nanoshells exhibit strong two-photon induced photoluminescence. This strong signal coupled with nanoshell’s biocompatibility and facile surface chemistry for bioconjugation, make them ideal contrast agents for in vitro and in vivo, thick tissue imaging. We have demonstrated multiplexed imaging of nanoshells along with other tissue constituents (cell nuclei, connective tissue, tumor vasculature) to understand the tumor targeting kinetics of systemic delivery. Our future studies will focus on optimizing nanoparticle design for efficient targeting and photothermal therapy of murine tumors.


Min Yao, Ph.D.

Massachusetts General Hospital

Boston, MA

Supporting ASLMS Member

R. Rox Anderson, M.D.

~ Recipient of ASLMS Funding in 2008 and 2009 ~

"Light-Activated Technology for Corneal Grafting"

We propose to: 1) test the hypothesis that securing an amniotic membrane or a tissue engineered stroma construct on the corneal matrix with PTB will decrease inflammation and scarring, and possibly enhance epithelialization, compared to sutured attachment, and 2) test the hypothesis that attaching a graft of limbal stem cells (LSC) on amniotic membrane with PTB will promote LSC survival and improve the reconstruction of the ocular surface compared to suture attachment. These studies will use rabbit corneal defect or limbal stem cell deficiency models. Inflammation, epitheliaization, collagen fibril organization, and corneal scarring after surgery will be monitored with histology, immunohistochemstry, biochemistry, and in vivo microscopy to compare grafting techniques.

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