Sean Smith

Postdoctoral Researcher

Theranostic nanoparticles for ovarian cancer

More than 70% of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed after the development of advanced stage disease. Most of these patients retain tumor deposits after initial surgery that are invisible to the naked eye and current imaging modalities. Indeed, current gold-standards for cancer detection (CT, MRI, and PET) are hampered by low resolution and hazardous exposures. One promising alternative is the use of fluorescent light in the second near infrared window (950-1600 nm) which allows for minimal scattering, reduced autofluorescence, and deep tissue penetration. Our group and others have recently found that nanoparticles made of rare earth elements both excite and emit within that window and can be used for ovarian cancer detection. My project is the development of an all-in-one theranostic platform capable of simultaneous tumor detection and treatment by pairing rare earth particles with layer-by-layer assembly of polymers, targeting moieties, and therapeutics.

Email: ssmith18 [at] mit . edu