Rice University logoDr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum
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Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging Laboratory

Optical Systems for In Vivo Molecular Imaging of Cancer 

Agency: NIH R01 

Collaborators: Rebecca Richards-Kortum (Rice), Sharmila Anandasapathy (Baylor College of Medicine), Konstantin Sokolov (UTMDACC), Krishnendu Roy (Georgia Tech), Renata Pasqualini (University of New Mexico), Calum MacAulay (British Columbia Cancer Center) 

The goal of this proposal is to develop, optimize, and translate optical molecular imaging technologies to pilot clinical studies. Our team will carry out work to improve: (1) molecular screening, (2) early diagnosis, and (3) treatment of early disease. While this work has broad applicability for many types of cancers, we will develop and test systems for three organ sites, the oral cavity, esophagus, and lung, which together represent more than 25% of tumor mortality. The aims of the proposal are to: (1) Develop contrast agents and detection platforms for molecular screening to identify individuals in the general population at high risk for cancer development by detecting neoplasia-related biomarkers in exfoliated cells; (2) Translate optical contrast agents and widefield/high-resolution optical imaging systems to improve the molecular diagnosis of early-stage cancer and its precursor(s) in high risk populations; (3) Optimize molecular imaging systems to guide therapy to aid in surgical resection of early stage cancer, leveraging optical contrast agents and widefield/high resolution imaging systems developed by our team and optimized in Aim 2. These studies are the crucial next step to ensure that optical molecular imaging becomes part of an effective and affordable clinical effort to improve screening, detection, and management of early cancer.


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