Chadwick Wright, MD, PhD
|Award Name||Davis/Bremer Pilot|
Fluorescent dye agents help locate residual tumor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma during surgery
Chadwick Wright, MD, PhD, received a Davis/Bremer Pilot Award from The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science for his research project, "123Iodine-labeled HN1-800dye agents for dual-modality intraoperative surgical guidance during resection of head & neck squamous cell carcinoma."
When a patient is having surgery to remove a tumor in their head or neck, pre-surgical imaging is often used to assess the tumor and look for other malignant or metastatic lesions (i.e., lymph nodes). Wright and his mentor, Michael Tweedle, PhD, want to both improve pre-surgical imaging for nuclear medicine physicians and visualization of tumor lesions during surgery for surgeons by creating new radioactive imaging agents that emit fluorescent light.
"Before a surgeon does any cutting, they will do imaging, like PET/CT, MRI or CT scans, to try to locate the cancer,” Tweedle said. Such routine imaging helps surgeons assess the location and size of tumor lesions, as well as the extent of tumor involvement in surrounding normal tissues.
When a patient is on the operating table, it can sometimes be challenging for surgeons to know that they have completely removed the tumor lesions without cutting out excessive amounts of surrounding tissue. Real-time enhanced visualization of tumor lesions which emit fluorescent light in the operating room could help surgeons completely remove tumor lesions.
“If there is any undetected tumor left behind after surgery, then it will continue to grow,” Wright said. "This may require additional surgeries to find and remove the tumor left behind."
Wright and Tweedle are developing a dual-modality imaging agent that detects squamous cell carcinomas using both nuclear medicine and fluorescent imaging systems in the operating room. This type of agent will make any remaining parts of the tumor fluorescent/radioactive and allow surgeons to locate and remove them, as well as confirm that no residual tumor is left behind.
Wright and Tweedle’s efforts have been strengthened by an outstanding team of multidisplinary collaborators, including Nathan Hall, MD, PhD, Quintin Pan, PhD, Ted Teknos, MD, and Michael Knopp, MD, PhD. Their novel, real-time imaging detection and treatment paradigm is critical to improving and personalizing cancer detection and care at Ohio State.
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