Winning image captures immunotargeted nanoparticles in cancer cells
By Shawn Hutchins
Special to Rice News
A research image by Rice bioengineering doctoral student Sangheon Han has been selected for the collection gallery of the Cancer Close Up 2017 project held by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The annual competition showcases spectacular images of cutting-edge NCI-supported research. Han’s image will be one of 24 winning images to be prominently displayed at the NCI exhibit booth during the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting April 1-5 in Washington, D.C., and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting June 2-6 in Chicago. Images will also appear on the NCI’s Visuals Online website under the Cancer Close Up 2017 collection gallery and will be shared through NCI’s social media channels.
Han is in his second year of graduate studies at Rice and carries out research in Professor Konstantin Sokolov’s Biomedical Optics & Nanodiagnostics (BOND) laboratory at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The focus of Han’s research involves the development of clinically translatable plasmonic nanoparticles for detection and treatment of micrometastatic cancer disease. Iin combination with ultrasound-guided spectroscopic photo-acoustic imaging, this technology has been shown to detect metastatic foci as small as just few tens of cancer cells in vivo.
Han’s winning image (at left) shows the interaction of receptor-targeted antibody-conjugated nanoparticles with cancer cells resulting in separation of the antibodies and the nanoparticle cores into different cellular compartments. The BOND lab has shown that this effect is essential in highly sensitive detection of cancer cells in vivo, and it has been currently extended toward the development of novel nanotherapies.
Sangheon captured this spectacular cancer-detecting nanoparticles image at the UT MD Anderson’s Immunology Optical Microscopy Laboratory (IOML), which specializes in advanced fluorescence microscopy modes such as super-resolution, confocal and dynamic microscopy.
Han’s image was obtained with help of IOML Laboratory Manager Anna Zal and Scientific Director Tomasz Zal. Sokolov is a professor of imaging physics at UT MD Anderson and a co-director of the Rice-UT MD Anderson Cancer Nanotech T32 program.
— Shawn Hutchins is a science writer and web specialist for the Department of Bioengineering.