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Biomedical Engineering Researcher Receives $327K New Investigator Grant

June 24, 2004

Dr. Yueqing Gu, a new research assistant professor in The University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Engineering, has received a New Investigator Award and grant from the Department of Defense to develop improvements in the treatment of prostate tumors.

The New Investigator Award is highly valued; the Department of Defense (DoD) presented only 29 of them last year. Dr. Gu will work with co-investigators in an effort to develop a non-invasive imaging system used in evaluating the effectiveness of therapeutic drug delivery by biodegradable fibers to a prostate tumor. The system would measure hemoglobin distribution within the tumor and show blood vessel development. In a tumor undergoing chemotherapy by biodegradable fibers, changes in oxygen levels and vascular growth or decay would indicate whether or not the current level of treatment was effective.

Three faculty members in the Biomedical Engineering Department will assist Dr. Gu in the project. Associate Professor Hanli Liu will develop an optical imager and a two-dimensional reconstruction algorithm to obtain hemodynamic images. Associate Professor Kevin Nelson will fabricate the biodegradable fibers loaded with chemotherapeutic drugs in different dosages and release rates. Associate Professor Liping Tang will handle the animal studies portion of the project, preparing tumor-bearing rats for imaging and providing information on tumor physiology.

Dr. Gu, a post-doctoral fellow who was promoted to faculty research associate, was conducting breast cancer research at Dr. Hanli Liu’s laboratory at UTA. It was in these studies utilizing near infrared light that Gu realized the potential of similar applications in chemotherapeutic prostate tumor treatments. The DoD Prostate Cancer Research Program grant will fund her project for three years.