Dr. Ravi Singh, (Wake Forest School of Medicine), “Progress toward the Clinical Translation of Carbon Nanotube Mediated Thermal Therapy Accomplishments and Challenges”

Categories:Events, General Event

Event Date:
September 18, 2014 – 3:30 PM to September 19, 2014 – 4:59 PM

Burson 115

Event Date:
September 18, 2014 – 3:30 PM to September 19, 2014 – 4:59 PM

Burson 115

Ph.D Nanoscale Science
Seminar Series
Fall 2014


Dr. Ravi Singh
Wake Forest School of Medicine

Department of Cancer Biology

“Progress toward the Clinical Translation of Carbon Nanotube Mediated Thermal Therapy Accomplishments and Challenges”


Nanomaterials such as multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) have the potential to play a significant role in transforming how cancer is treated. MWCNTs generate substantial heat when exposed to a near infrared laser energy which allows far greater heat generation and localization within a tumor target than laser irradiation alone. Carbon nanotube mediated photothermal therapy (CNMPT) is effective for treating bulk cancer and stem cell-like cancer populations which may enhance treatment efficacy, reduce disease recurrence and prevent the development of therapeutic resistance. Laser energy can be delivered by inserting a fiber optic laser directly into the tumor via a catheter and heat delivered by interstitial lasers is now being used as a focal cytoreductive treatment for brain tumors. We are studying methods to increase the efficacy of laser-based treatment using CNMPT. Our current research aims to address several issues needed for successful clinical application of CNMPT for treatment of breast and brain tumors including:

  • development of an effective strategy to selectively delivery CNTs to tumors and distribute them throughout the tumor volume;
  • optimizing parameters for generating a uniform and predictable temperature distribution in the targeted area following NIR exposure with minimal heat spread to neighboring healthy tissue;
  • elimination of bulk cancer and stem-cell like cancer cells within and at the margin of the targeted area;
  • acute and long-term toxicological investigation of CNTs;
  • understanding the roles of treatment induced stress in the development of tolerance to CNMPT and disease recurrence.

We assess the role of nanotube coating materials in both the blood compatibility and tumor interstitial transport of carbon nanotubes. We use magnetic resonance thermometry to experimentally validate modeling methodology that will assist in optimizing the application of carbon nanotubes in thermal tumor ablation by allowing precise application of ablative heat temperatures with minimal spillover to surrounding structures. Cancer cells previously exposed to conventional heat treatment exhibit increased tolerance compared to control cells when subsequently exposed to sub-ablative temperatures. However, repeated exposure to CNMTT does not induce similar tolerance. Our data suggest that unlike conventional heat treatment, CNMTT can simultaneously eliminate both the differentiated cells that constitute the bulk of a tumor along with the cancer stem cells that drive tumor growth and recurrence. Furthermore, we demonstrate specificity of binding/uptake by mammalian cells of large nanoparticles like MWCNTs can be mediated by interaction with glucose transporters that are over expressed on many cancer cells.


Dr. Ravi Nandan Singh, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. His research interest is the production of nanotechnology-based, multifunctional particles that can diagnose cancer, deliver therapeutic agents, and monitor cancer treatment. His goal is to facilitate the translation of nanoparticle-based therapeutics from the lab to the clinic. Ongoing projects in his lab include: 1) development of targeted carbon nanotubes suitable for use in positron emission tomography (PET) for breast cancer diagnosis; 2) use of carbon nanotubes for photothermal ablation of glioma; 3) engineering metal nanoparticles for breast cancer therapy. Previously, he produced pioneering work in the area of carbon nanotube-mediated gene delivery, created a novel lipid-coated viral nanoparticle suitable for tumor-specific, systemic delivery, and has authored or co-authored 34 peer-reviewed scientific articles. He received his B.A. in physics from Harvard University in 1995 and then spent eight years conducting research in viral and non-viral gene therapy at Weill Cornell Medical Center and Imperial College London before initiating graduate studies at the University of London where he earned his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science in 2008. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer biology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in 2012.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 @ 3:30 PM in Burson 115
Coffee & soft drinks served at 3:15 PM