Image-guided cancer therapy using theranostic nanoparticles

Lily Yang

Lily Yang

Associate Professor

Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Yang is Associate Professor of Surgery, Radiology, and Hematology and Oncology, and Nancy Panoz Chair of Surgery in Cancer Research at Emory University. Dr. Yang received her medical training in China at West China University of Medical Sciences and then in the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. She received her PhD degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at Brown University. After her postdoctoral trainings in gene therapy at the University of Southern California and Emory University, she joined Department of Surgery at Emory University as a faculty member. Dr. Yang’s research experiences include liver stem cells and hepatocellular carcinoma, cancer gene therapy, apoptosis, molecular targeted cancer therapy, biomarker targeted drug delivery, molecular imaging, and cancer nanotechnology. During the last several years, Dr Yang has been working on the development of multifunctional nanoparticles for targeted cancer imaging and therapy. She leads a research team to develop targeted optical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) nanoparticle probes for early detection of breast, pancreatic and ovarian cancers. One of her research efforts focuses on the development of novel targeted imaging probes and intraoperative optical instrumentations for image-guided surgery for preventing local and distant tumor recurrence. To address the major challenges in clinical oncology of targeted drug delivery and timely assessment of the therapeutic response, her group has developed a theranostic magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (IONP) platform that utilizes receptor-targeted IONPs to carry single or multiple therapeutic agents for drug delivery, optical imaging, and MRI monitoring of the drug delivery and response. The translational goal of this research project is to develop novel targeted treatment-imaging protocols for neoadjuvant therapy of triple negative breast cancer or locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Additionally, she is investigating molecular targets and signal pathways that confer aggressive behavior, invasiveness and resistance to apoptosis in triple negative breast cancer cells. Dr. Yang’s research projects are supported by three NIH R01, Emory Molecular Imaging Center (NIH P50), and Cancer Nanotechnology Partner Platform (NIH U01) grants. Dr. Yang has filed several patent applications on the production of novel targeted nanoparticles for tumor imaging and therapy. Dr. Yang is the member of Editorial Board of several scientific journals. Dr. Yang is the charter member of NIH Developmental Therapeutics Study Section and has served as an Adhoc member in many other NIH study sections.

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