Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation (DRAFT)

Changing the way we treat cancer

Current Goal Progress: $2,375,880/$5,000,000

5206 Backers as of 03/28/2020

Donate to an Answer for Cancer!

The Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation has partnered with Contagus, and established the “Changing The Way We Treat Cancer” Campaign in an effort to raise $5,000,000, of the  $30,000,000, needed  in support of our mission to change the way cancer is treated and reduce human suffering by providing cancer care that is accessible, affordable and effective to everyone. 

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Our Progress

The Problem

“Shining Light on a Big Problem with a Really Small Solution” is my favorite way of describing what I am doing. You may wonder, what is the big problem? The big problem is cancer. The war against cancer is now one of the longest wars in human history. Too many lives have been devastated as casualties of this war. Even with great strides towards early detection, prevention, and awareness, there is still a great need for improvements to the current cancer therapies of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. One major downside of the current therapies is the inability to selectively kill only cancer cells without harming neighboring healthy cells.

The Light & The Small Solution

Using the fundamentals of physics and nanotechnology, I am literally shining laser light on cancerous tumors using a unique liquid solution of really small nanometer-sized particles to selectively kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells. I have developed a treatment platform that has great potential to treat multiple tumor types in a simple outpatient procedure with minimal side effects – laser-activated nano-therapy (LANT).

The LANT treatment platform works by shining a harmless laser light (laser activation) on a cancer tumor that has been injected with non-toxic nanometer-sized particles in solution (nano). The nanosolution absorbs the laser light, converts it into heat, and provides a selective, thermal death for the cancer cells (therapy). Neither the laser nor the nano-solution can cause cell death without the other – they have to work together as a team in order to be effective and kill targeted cancer cells.

The Results

(1) Intratumoral Laser-Activated Nano-Therapy

This best-in-class demonstration of thermal therapy using laser-activated nanoparticles resulted in ~100% tumor regression (shrinkage) after only one 10- minute treatment in comparison to the 3 control groups: no treatment, laser only, and nanorods only. The tumor experienced immediate discoloration after treatment then showed continued tumor regression and healing. A board certified pathologist confirmed that no viable tumor remained after 15 days. This was representative of all of the tumors treated. Photo-Nano-Therapy has the potential to become an ideal treatment for primary tumors, an alternative or supplement treatment to chemotherapy and radiation, and as an outpatient cancer treatment.


(2) Fluorescently-Labeled Antibodies and Laser-Activated Nano-Therapy

The innovation of our 3-in-1 combined targeting, imaging, and treatment system enables the combination of tumor receptor site targeting, targeted nanoparticle delivery, fluorescent imaging, and laser-activated nanoparticle therapy that results in marked tumor regression in mice. Our preliminary data demonstrate a best-in-class performance of our findings that fluorescently-labeled antibodies (FLA) add a targeting and imaging component to our novel LANT and induce 40% tumor regression in mice after one 10-minute treatment. Further, the addition of laser-activated nanoparticles to an FDA-approved antibody immunotherapy decreases the time needed to achieve a therapuetic response from weeks to days. This demonstration of adjuvant therapy is promising. FLALANT is expected to serve as a new class of cheaper, faster, and more specific therapy, combining early detection with targeted, selective, and repeatable treatments for a variety of cancers.


Expected Outcome

Within 3-5 years, we plan to demonstrate that photo-nano-therapy is a multi-cancer treatment for a variety of tumors types including breast, colorectal, ovarian, skin, cervical, pancreatic, bladder, and prostate cancers in their native locale as well as metastatic tumors in animal models. Long term, we envision developing medical devices and providing cancer patients with a low cost, outpatient treatment with minimal side effects as an alternative to surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapies. With your financial support, we can realize this dream together and translate this treatment from mice to man.

About Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is a multi-disciplinary physicist who specializes in targeted cancer therapeutics, using laser-activated nanoparticles and immunotherapies to develop biomarker-specific platforms to target, image, and treat malignant tumors. Dr. Green was recently awarded a $1.1 million HBCU RSTP Career Development Award from the VA Office of Research and Development. The grant will support the further development of four patent-pending technologies including a 3-in-1 system for early detection, imaging, targeting, and selective treatment of head and neck cancer and a 10-minute laser-activated nanoparticle treatment that induces ~100% tumor regression.  Her goal is to demonstrate the efficacy of these treatments in a variety of cancer models including colorectal, ovarian, cervical, breast, brain, pancreatic, bladder, skin, and prostate cancers.

Dr. Green founded the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation in memory of her aunt, Ora Lee “Auntee” Smith, whose tragic experience with cancer inspired her to develop a cancer treatment without side effects.

Ora Lee Smith raised Dr. Green from four years old, serving as her mother & legal guardian. When Auntee announced that she had cancer and would rather die than experience the harsh side effects of chemotherapy & radiation treatments, Dr. Green knew there had to be a better way. The purpose of the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation is to support the research that Auntee inspired in hopes that one day no one else will have to opt out of treatment to avoid the side effects of today’s cancer treatment.


What they’re saying


“One of the few Black female physicists in the United States is currently developing a laser treatment to battle cancer that has little-to-no side effects.”

– TV One’s NewsOne


“Green has managed not only to shine but to make a major impact in the world of cancer research.”

– The Huffington Post


“In regards to her mission… Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green chugs along with unshakable faith. This woman is on fire!”

– The Root


“Green’s studies prove Black Girl Magic transcends beyond the realms of entertainment and activism.”

– Pittsburgh Courier


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