Dr. Baowei Fei served on the NIH Study Section ZRG1 SBIB-F (59)R on Imaging and Biomarker for Early Detection of Aggressive Cancer

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to: (i) invite researchers to submit collaborative research project (U01) applications to improve cancer screening, early detection of aggressive cancer, assessment of cancer risk and cancer diagnosis aimed at integrating multi-modality imaging strategies and multiplexed biomarker methodologies into a singular complementary approach, and (ii) establish a Consortium for Imaging and Biomarkers (CIB) to perform collaborative studies, exchange information, share knowledge and leverage common resources. The research will be conducted by individual multi-disciplinary research teams, hereafter called Units. All Units are expected to participate in collaborative activities with other Units within the Consortium.

For more information about this funding program, please visit  NIH Grants.

Photodynamic Therapy of Head and Neck Cancer

PDT is increasingly being recognized as an attractive alternative treatment for various cancers. PDT requires a photosensitizing drug, light of a specific wavelength, and oxygen. Upon absorption of photons, the drug generates toxic singlet oxygen species that react with nearby lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. The primary role of PDT is to kill cancer cells by inducing immune response, apoptosis, or necrosis). This relatively new therapy has attracted extensive clinical and research interest in the last ten years, and various new PDT drugs have entered clinical trials worldwide, including studies in head and neck, lung, brain, breast, liver, colon, and bladder cancers. The first-generation photosensitizing drug Photofrin® is US-FDA approved for PDT in human cancer patients. Using the FDA-approved drug, preliminary PDT studies in head and neck cancer show that patients with early stage cancers or early recurrences in the oral cavity and larynx tend to have an excellent response to PDT. PDT can be an effective alternative treatment for a select patient population with recurrent head and neck cancer that is refractory to standard local approaches. However, the FDA-approved drug, Photofrin, has several limitations including skin burns, its short absorption wavelength, and serious side effects, which argues for the need to develop better tolerated approaches.

Imaged guided photodynamic therapy of head and neck cancer