What if we could cure cancer without harmful chemotherapy?
One doctor, Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, has done just that. She has successfully cured cancer in mice using laser-activated nanoparticles instead of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or other forms of treatment.
Her breakthrough made Green the first person in the world to ever successfully cure cancer in mice via laser-activated nanoparticles. The mice she tested were cured within 15 days of treatment, and all without any surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
This incredible breakthrough came thanks to Dr. Green’s tireless research into cancer treatment, which she became interested in after her aunt Ora Lee died of cancer. Her uncle, General Lee Smith, also suffered from cancer and had to contend with the negative side effects of chemotherapy.
Now, Green has received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to continue her study into nanoparticle cancer treatment. This will hopefully allow her to refine and perfect the treatment so it can be used on humans. This could prevent hundreds of thousands of people from suffering from both cancer and the often horrible side effects of current cancer treatments.
Everyone should visit a doctor at least once a year, but sometimes even that doesn’t prevent us from getting a type of cancer that is currently beyond treatment. Despite our and our doctors’ best attempts to prevent and treat cancer, the effect of a diagnosis is often devastating. Green’s revolutionary research could assist with that entire process and offer sick people better treatment options via laser-activated nanoparticles. In theory, cancer sufferers could feel better even while being treated.
Green is blazing a trail not only for cancer treatment but also for women in STEM. After attending Alabama AandM University in 1999, she went on to get a master of science in physics with a concentration in Nanobiophotonics in 2009. She also got a PhD in physics from the University of Alabama in 2012.
Being a woman, and a woman of color, in STEM and achieving all of that is not easy. Even though things are changing, with 40% of new entrepreneurs being women and the number of women-owned businesses growing at twice the rate of male-owned businesses, there are still many challenges for women in STEM.
But Green is not only making breakthroughs in the field of cancer treatment; she’s also running the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation in memory of her late aunt. With more than 600,000 people expected to die from cancer in the U.S. this year alone, her research is more crucial than ever. About 1,660 people could die of cancer every day in 2020.
But the outlook is getting more hopeful. In addition to Green’s breakthrough treatment, cancer survival rates are generally going up. As many as 69% of people diagnosed between 2009 and 2015 were alive five years after their diagnosis. That’s up from 49% between 1975 and 1977.
Normally, a cancer diagnosis means chemotherapy, radiation, and countless side effects from treatment. And all of that equipment and treatment comes at a high cost. Trucks transported 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017, including heavy medical equipment. Green hopes to reduce the cost and burden of cancer treatment, though.
One of her goals, along with more research into nanoparticle treatments, is to reduce the cost of cancer treatment. Green hopes to make cancer treatment accessible, affordable and effective for everyone who needs it.