News & Events

Dr. Regine Choe Awarded NIH Grant to Pursue Development of Cost-Effective Modality to Monitor Ongoing Breast Cancer Therapy

August 25, 2011

BME assistant professor, Dr. Regine Choe has received a three-year NIH Pathway to Independence Award ($700,000) to investigate an alternative method to positron emission tomography (PET) scans to assess the effectiveness of chemotherapy for breast cancer. Because PET scans are relatively expensive, and since the contrast agent, Flurodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG), contains radioactive compounds, frequent assessment of breast cancer tumors over the course of chemotherapy treatment makes PET scans a less than optimal choice.

The Choe lab will be using a new fluorescent dye to investigate if it can be used as a surrogate marker for glucose metabolism. In addition, the lab will investigate whether simultaneous monitoring of glucose and oxygen metabolism accessible by diffuse optical methods (with and without injection) can enhance the assessment of treatment efficacy.

We hope to find a less expensive, safer modality to measure metabolic changes in tumors induced by chemotherapy. The ultimate goal is to be able to determine if the chemotherapy is effective before the course of treatment is over, thus making it possible to change or discontiue the course of treatment if necessary, says Dr. Choe.