The National Cancer Institute estimates nearly 1.7 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. With few common types of cancer treatments available, patients are limited in how they can fight the disease and the debilitating side effects of the treatments.
This may all soon change.
One of the few Black female physicists in the United States is currently developing a laser treatment to battle cancer that has little-to-no side effects.
Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, Assistant Professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine, recently spoke with Roland Martin about her groundbreaking research and what inspired her to become a pioneer in this critical area of medical care.
After watching her aunt refuse to take radiation therapy for cervical/ovarian cancer, her uncle battle through esophageal cancer, and the effects of chemotherapy, Dr. Green said, “There has to be a better way.”
Dr. Green said she “got to experience first-hand the horrors of cancer and the horrors of cancer treatment.”
Her uncle, who raised her since the age of four, lost all of his hair and eyebrows, his fingernails turned black, and he lost 150 pounds during his battle with the deadly disease. Dr. Green shared on NewsOne Now that her uncle’s “skin went from being a beautiful chocolate to looking like it had been burnt in an oven or barbecued.”
She called the experience “horrific.”
These tragedies fueled Dr. Green to pioneer a new way to deliver the life-saving medication many Americans need.
Dr. Green’s undergraduate studies were based in optical communications and lasers, with which she initially planned on revolutionizing the way internet and cable television is delivered. Green instead decided to apply the knowledge gained through her undergraduate studies to the battle against cancer.
She told Martin, “If we can see from a satellite in outer space if a dime on the ground is face up or face down, we should be able to do a better job of pinpointing the tumor and treating just the tumor and not the whole person.”
Watch Roland Martin and Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green discuss her revolutionary 3-in-1 system for early detection, imaging, targeting, and selective treatment of head and neck cancer with lasers in the video clip above.
Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is a multidisciplinary physicist who specializes in targeted cancer therapeutics, using laser-activated nanoparticles and immunotherapies to develop biomarker-specific platforms to target, image, and treat malignant tumors. Dr. Green was recently awarded a $1.1 million HBCU RSTP Career Development Award from the VA Office of Research and Development. The grant will support the further development of four patent-pending technologies including a 3-in-1 system for early detection, imaging, targeting, and selective treatment of head and neck cancer and a 10-minute laser-activated nanoparticle treatment that induces ~100 percent tumor regression. Her goal is to demonstrate the efficacy of these treatments in a variety of cancer models including in colorectal, ovarian, cervical, breast, brain, pancreatic, bladder, skin and prostate cancers.
Dr. Green completed her B.S. degree in Physics from Alabama A&M University. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She gained extensive molecular, cellular, and animal research experiences in the Head and Neck Cancer Research Program at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and in the Department of Pathology. After serving two years at Tuskegee University, Dr. Green established The Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation and joined Morehouse School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology to pursue her dream to help people with her cancer treatments.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty