Edward W. Lee, MD, PhD, Awarded Research Project:
"A New Image-Guided Tumor Ablation: Percutaneous Irreversible Electroporation (PIE) on Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Rabbit VX2 Neck Tumor Model"
Irreversible Electroporation (IRE or NanoKnife) is a novel tumor ablation method that uses a strong electric field to produce cellular wall disruption which ultimately creates focused complete cell death in an ultra-short time period (in milliseconds). In Dr. Lee's previous work, he has shown that IRE-ablated zones can be monitored in real-time using ultrasound and CT.
Minimally invasive and targeted therapies such as tumor ablation and chemoembolization are widely utilized to treat various malignancies. However, current knowledge in treating head and neck tumors with tumor ablation is somewhat limited.
Dr. Lee will study IRE on head and neck tumors using a VX2 tumor model. The proposed study will evaluate efficacy of IRE on head and neck tumor ablation and effectiveness of tumor ablation on decreasing lymphatic metastases of head and neck tumors. Also, he will evaluate the preservation of peri-tumoral vital structures (carotid artery, jugular vein, vagas nerve and upper airway) in IRE treatment. Finally, he will further elucidate the pathophysiological pathway of IRE using various cellular and genetic markers.
In continuation from this study, Dr. Lee will compare the effectiveness of IRE versus conventional thermal ablation such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) on head and neck tumors.
Nam C. Yu, MD, Awarded Research Project:
"Interventional Oncology and the Stromal-Derived Factor-1/CXCR4 Biological Axis: Implications for Post- Therapy Tumor Progression and a Novel Adjuvant Strategy"
Minimally invasive tumor ablation and chemoembolization are often employed against various abdominal malignancies. However, there is currently little knowledge of the cellular changes induced by the tissue damage. Preliminary studies suggest that both programmed tumor cell death (apoptosis) and stimulated tumor growth can occur in this biologically active tissue in addition to the healing responses.
The chemokine stromal-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) is widely produced by many tissues in response to various insults and exerts multiple survival and reparative effects including apoptosis resistance and bood vessel recruitment. Its receptor CXCR4 is found in nearly all types of cancer, and the level of CXCR4 expression has been linked with tumor invasion and spread. Specifically, Dr. Yu and colleagues will focus on the role of SDF-1 and its receptor CXCR4 in determining the fate of tumor cells following ablation or chemoembolization therapy.
Dr. Yu proposed study primarily aims to further elucidate these biological changes in hopes of tipping the scale in favor of cytotoxicity by use of adjuvant pharmacotherapy. SDF-1 is also known to be a central player in the recruitment of stem cells which universally express CXCR4, and the project will also explore possible stem cell homing to the site of tissue injury following image-guided treatments.