Women Making History in Cancer – Dr. Quyen Nguyen

Hi. My name is Quyen Nguyen. I’m a professor of surgery at UC San Diego. I’m a head a neck surgeon. So, I think one of the most exciting things in cancer care today is the development of fluorescence-guided surgery. It’s the idea that tumors and nerves are really hard to see during
surgery and if we could somehow make it easier for surgeons to see with fluorescently labeled probes then patient outcome would really be improved. And this is really related to the work that I’ve done over the past 13 years or so in collaboration with the late Roger Tsien, who was a Nobel laureate in chemistry. We developed two different probes. One of them is an injectable probe that highlights tumors during surgery and this enables the operating surgeon to really see the margins of the tumor compared to where the normal tissue is and thereby taking out the tumor with much greater precision. The second probe that we’ve been working on is to develop a nerve targeting probe. So following an IV injection this probe also highlights nerves and make them fluorescent and thereby during surgery with this tool in in place we are able to identify nerves a little bit easier and hopefully avoid inadvertent injury to the nerves and improving patient outcome.

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