Physicist uses light to accelerate treatment of drug-resistant cancers

February 11, 2016

Pan­cre­atic cancer is a noto­ri­ously treatment-​​resistant dis­ease. Assis­tant pro­fessor Bryan Q. Spring develops pho­to­dy­namic light-​​based ther­a­pies that both target the malig­nant cells and stop the sig­naling between them that sparks new tumor growth. It’s a novel one-​​two punch approach to per­son­al­ized medicine.

With dif­fi­cult malig­nan­cies like pan­cre­atic cancer, you can never kill all the cancer cells with a single cycle of treat­ment,” says Spring, who joined Northeastern’s Depart­ment of Physics in the Col­lege of Sci­ence this past fall. “The sur­viving cells are able to mount a response—they com­mu­ni­cate with one another so they can keep growing, develop resis­tance to the drugs, and thwart the immune system.”

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