By Charlotte Bendkowski
Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is the first doctor to cure cancer using nanoparticles The Modems Home About Tech Lifestyle Fashion Beauty Interviews Image courtesy The Scientist Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is the physicist who has been the first person to successfully cure cancer in mice using laser nanoparticles.
“As a child, there were no scientists in my life. I didn’t dream of being a scientist, let alone a physicist. I didn’t have that example, but I loved learning . . . and that gave me the foundation that I needed.”
When Hadiyah-Nicole Green was in kindergarten, she would help her brother with his fourth-grade homework, being bought up by her aunt and uncle in Saint Louis, Missouri with her siblings after her parents and grandparents died.
Green attended Alabama A&M University, and it is here that a fellow student persuaded her to study physics. During her summers she would work at the University of Rochester, and then at NASA where she took part in calibrating lasers for the International Space Station. Graduating in 2003 with an outstanding 4.0 GPA, Green was planning to work with fibre optics but family tragedies changed her career path.
Her aunt and uncle both fell ill from cancer and subsequently died. Green explains her aunt “would rather die than experience the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation”.
Green details how she “was her primary caregiver the last three months of her life, and I watched her go from this powerful matriarch in our family to being someone who couldn’t walk, speak, or stand on her own.” Her uncle died from the long term side affects associated with oesophageal and prostate cancer.
This led Green to her calling, she decided to use her knowledge of lasers to develop cancer treatment that wouldn’t leave patients with the dreaded side-effects. She took her idea to Sergey Mirov, a high regarded physicist at Alabama University who accepted her as a graduate student. The Modems Home About Tech Lifestyle Fashion Beauty Interviews During her time at Alabama University, Green worked in cancer therapy where gold nanoparticles are injected into tumours. When the lasers are directed at the nanoparticles, they warm up and vibrate which in turn destroys the tumour cells. This would see no side effects to patients as the treatment was delivered directly to the tumours.
In 2011, Green showcased that the nanoparticles could be attached to tutor-specific antibodies in cell culture, which went on to gain Green a PhD a year later. This makes her the 76th African American women to receive a physics PhD from an American University. After this Green joined Tuskegee University as an assistant professor and continued studying lasers and cancer, and successfully showed that mice with a form of skin cancer had a near 100% tutor regression when treated using her gold nanoparticle method.
In 2016 Green launched the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit organization set up in memory of her aunt. The charities aim is to raise money for clinical trials. Later in the year, Green received a $1.1million grant from Veterans Affairs Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Scientist Training Program. This grant gives every cancer sufferer faith that a cure is coming.
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