Cancer Research Spotlight

The Henry Ford Cancer Institute hosts a robust research program that focuses on clinical and translational research. That means that we take what we learn in the lab and deliver it to the patient bedside.

In Detroit, people know Henry Ford Health System as a place to receive excellent care for cancer or any other condition. In Michigan and beyond, medical professionals know us as a research center where investigators ask timely questions and publish studies in top journals.

On this page, we highlight some of our cancer researchers’ most exciting recent developments. Please check back often for new information about our work. Learn more about our cancer research areas of emphasis.

Research spotlight: approaches for drug-resistant glioblastoma

Meser Ali PhD

Temozolomide-based radiation therapy is the sole therapy available for patients with glioblastoma, a lethal form of brain cancer. One of the most pressing needs in clinical oncology is the development of approaches for treating drug-resistant glioblastoma. Meser Ali, Ph.D., an associate scientist in the department of Neurology and scientific member of the Henry Ford Cancer Institute Developmental Therapeutics program, is using his training in chemistry to apply the most recent advances in nanotechnology to develop novel treatments for glioblastoma. Specifically, his research program will use nanotechnology to facilitate targeted delivery of DNA inhibitors with combination of temozolomide and radiation therapies to maximize potential therapeutic impact for brain cancer patients.

brain tissue section with nanoparticles sized

To counteract the DNA repair mechanisms that drive resistance and relapse in glioblastoma after surgery and radiation treatment, Dr. Ali’s team has developed a biodegradable nanoparticle for targeted delivery of DNA repair inhibitors to the tumor site. These treatment modalities are currently being tested with combination of temozolomide and radiation therapy in preclinical animal models. This image shows the brain tissue section of a rat demonstrating the accumulation of nanoparticles (red) at the tumor site selectively, but not at the normal brain tissue.

nanoparticles on cytoplasm of nuclei

Dr. Ali’s research has recently been recognized by the NCI Cancer Close Up project, which is exemplifying NCI-supported research into how nanoscale materials and devices can improve the way cancer is studied, detected, prevented, and treated. One of Dr. Ali’s award-winning photographs shows how conjugating water-insoluble curcumin to dendritic nanoparticles (green), the compound was able to reach the cytoplasm and nuclei (blue) of human malignant glioma cells.

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