Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2015

Author's Department

Biomedical Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Colitis-associated cancer (CAC) arises from premalignant flat lesions of the colon, which are difficult to detect with current endoscopic screening approaches. We have developed a complementary fluorescence and polarization reporting strategy that combines the unique biochemical and physical properties of dysplasia and cancer for real time detection of these lesions. Utilizing a new thermoresponsive sol-gel formulation with targeted molecular probe allowed topical application and detection of precancerous and cancerous lesions during endoscopy. Incorporation of nanowire-filtered polarization imaging into NIR fluorescence endoscopy served as a validation strategy prior to obtaining biopsies.

In order to reduce repeat surgeries arising from incomplete tumor resection, we demonstrated the efficacy of the targeted molecular probe towards margins of sporadic colorectal cancer (SCC). Fluorescence-polarization microscopy using circular polarized (CP) light served as a rapid, supplementary tool for assessment and validation of excised tissue to ensure complete tumor resection for examining tumor margins prior to H&E-based pathological diagnosis. We extended our platform towards non-invasive directed detection of pancreatic cancer utilizing fluorescence molecular tomography (FMT) and NIR laparoscopy using identified targeted molecular probe. We were able to non-invasively distinguished between pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer and guide pancreatic tumor resection using NIR laparoscopy.


English (en)


Samuel Achilefu

Committee Members

Mark Anastasio, Joseph Culver, Viktor Gruev, Deborah Rubin, Lihong Wang


Included in

Engineering Commons