UTSA professor of physiology Dr. Matthew Gdovin and a team of researchers have developed a new method for treating cancerous tumors.

In Gdovin’s method, patients are injected with a certain concentration of a drug. Following the injection, the patients sit for an hour to allow the drug to diffuse into the tumor cells. A small fiber optic laser is then stuck into the tumor to activate the compound. Once the compound is activated, the tumors become acidic, shrinks a little and stops growing.

Gdovin stated, “We’re trying to develop stuff that addresses the greatest human need…a lot of cancers can be removed with surgery and be relatively cured… we’re looking at aggressive cancers…we’re looking at cancers growing in difficult-to-treat places.”

Cancerous tumors cause a great deal of physical and emotional harm to patients. Not only are the symptoms of cancer harsh, but the side effects from excessive treatments can be painstaking as well. Some of the side effects attributed to chemotherapy are hair loss, fatigue, pain, vomiting and loss of appetite.

This new method is groundbreaking for a scientific field that is desperately seeking to learn more on the biology of cancer.

Dr. Gdovin and his team have been successful thus far and have followed through on their mission to explore cancers that are more aggressive and harder to treat.

“We’ve got three cancerous cells that we’ve tried so far. Every one we’ve tried so far, it’s killed them in the petri dish model, two forms of breast cancer and one form of prostate cancer,” said Dr. Gdovin.

Gdovin discussed that when they were first beginning the trials to test their new method of wiping out cancerous cells they had to come into the lab 90 days straight, including Christmas and New Year’s Day. The team had to collect various kinds of data, such as the rate of the subject’s tumor growth.

When they performed the first animal study, at least two members of the lab team were present each day. Dr. Gdovin was in the laboratory every day so that he could be there to teach the members of the laboratory.

Zachary Jordan, a research assistant and M.S in Biotechnology, said that hearing from cancer patients motivates his research.

“You can hear it in their voices. How much they need something new. Somebody’s life depends on it,” said Jordan.

Dr. Gdovin is amazed at where his research has led, and he doesn’t plan on taking any vacation days anytime soon.

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