UTSA researcher develops new, non-invasive method to wipe out cancerous tumors
(June 27, 2016) -- Matthew Gdovin, an associate professor in the UTSA Department of Biology, has developed a newly patented method to kill cancer cells. His discovery, described in research published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, may tremendously help people with inoperable or hard-to-reach tumors, as well as young children stricken with cancer.
Gdovin’s top-tier research involves injecting a chemical compound, nitrobenzaldehyde, into the tumor and allowing it to diffuse into the tissue. He then aims a beam of light at the tissue, causing the cells to become very acidic inside and, essentially, commit suicide. Within two hours, Gdovin estimates up to 95 percent of the targeted cancer cells are dead.
“Even though there are many different types of cancers, the one thing they have in common is their susceptibility to this induced cell suicide,” he said.
Gdovin tested his method against triple negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive types of cancer and one of the hardest to treat. The prognosis for triple negative breast cancer is usually very poor. After one treatment in the laboratory, he was able to stop the tumor from growing and double chances of survival in mice.
“All forms of cancer attempt to make cells acidic on the outside as a way to attract the attention of a blood vessel, which attempts to get rid of the acid,” he said. “Instead, the cancer latches onto the blood vessel and uses it to make the tumor larger and larger.”
Chemotherapy treatments target all cells in the body, and certain chemotherapeutics try to keep cancer cells acidic as a way to kill the cancer. This is what causes many cancer patients to lose their hair and become sickly. Gdovin’s method, however, is more precise and can target just the tumor.
In the past two years, he’s developed his photodynamic cancer therapy to the point where it’s non-invasive. It now requires just an injection of the nitrobenzaldehyde fluid followed by a flash of an ultraviolet light to cause the cancer-killing reaction. Gdovin has now begun to test the method on drug-resistant cancer cells to make his therapy as strong as possible. He’s also started to develop a nanoparticle that can be injected into the body to target metastasized cancer cells. The nanoparticle is activated with a wavelength of light that it can pass harmlessly through skin, flesh and bone and still activate the the cancer-killing nanoparticle.
Gdovin hopes that his non-invasive method will help cancer patients with tumors in areas that have proven problematic for surgeons, such as the brain stem, aorta or spine. It could also help people who have received the maximum amount of radiation treatment and can no longer cope with the scarring and pain that goes along with it, or children who are at risk of developing mutations from radiation as they grow older.
“There are so many types of cancer for which the prognosis is very poor,” he said. “We’re thinking outside the box and finding a way to do what for many people is simply impossible.”
Read Matthew Gdovin's abstract "Photodynamic acidification therapy to reduce triple negative breast cancer growth in vivo"
Learn more about the Gdovin Laboratory.
Learn more about the UTSA Department of Biology.
A UTSA tradition since Homecoming 2011 with Fraternity and Sorority Life, thiscampus-wide talent show showcases the Rowdy Roadrunner Spirit, from teams to individual acts. Everyone will compete to win the 2017 Roadrunners LIVE Champion title.H-E-B University Center Ballrooms (HUC 1.104 and HUC 1.106), Main Campus
Join Rowdy Crew near the Roadrunner Statue for food, games and information to get hyped for the game. Some UTSA football players also plan to stop by.Central Plaza, Main Campus
Interested in becoming a dietitian? Come and speak to our faculty! Bring questions, hear them speak, and obtain information. Event is free.Main Building (MB 2.220), Main Campus
Be ready to laughs during this entertaining evening at the Homecoming Comedy Show! Free with a UTSA Student ID.H-E-B University Center Ballrooms (HUC 1.104 and HUC 1.106), Main Campus
Organizations participating in the golf cart parade will be creatively decorating their carts in the 2017 UTSA Homecoming theme "Spirit, Tradition, and Pride".University Center Lawn, Main Campus
As he wrote about in his book, Kill It To Save It: An Autopsy of Capitalism's Triumph Over Democracy, Corey Dolgon will speak about what made Donald Trump the preferred choice for many voters and shows how policy is crafted, marketed and sold or rejected.Buena Vista Street Building, Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
The UTSA African American Studies Program is proud to present Dr. Rupert Evans, a Harvard Macy Scholar and the immediate past President of the Institute for Diversity in Health Management.Main Building (MB 0.208), Main Campus
President Taylor Eighmy is inviting all UTSA faculty and staff to "Tacos With Taylor." Take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the President at any one of these casual meet and greets.Frio Street Building, Food Court Commons Area, Downtown Campus