Professor Chen’s Biophotonics & ImmunoEngineering Laboratory focuses on local intervention induced immune responses in cancer treatment.

  • Laser Immunotherapy (LIT) for Treatment of Metastatic Tumors.  Combining local laser irradiation and local immunological stimulation, our team has developed a novel treatment modality for late-stage, metastatic cancers.  In pre-clinical studies and preliminary clinical trials, LIT has been able to eradicate both treated primary tumors and untreated metastatic tumors at distant sites.  We are currently investigating the mechanism of LIT-induced antitumor responses at cellular and molecular levels.  We are also studying the effect of LIT on tumor microenvironments and its effect in enhancing the efficacy of other cancer immunotherapies, such as immune checkpoint therapy.
  • Laser-Nanotechnology for Biomedical Applications.  We have been working on the combination of laser and nanotechnology for cancer research.  Our group was the first to determine the mitochondrial localization of transmembranal single-walled carbon nanotubes in tumor cells. We also invented an immunologically modified carbon nanotube for photo-immuno interactions.  Currently, we are developing multifunctional, immunologically modified nanoplatforms to combine photothermal therapy, photodynamic therapy, and photoimmunotherapy for cancer treatment.
  • Biological Effects of Photothermal Therapy (PTT).  We investigate photothermal therapy-induced biological responses, both in target tissue destruction and immunological stimulation.  Using both non-invasive and interstitial laser irradiation, we have achieved selective photothermal effects.  We are the first group to use in-situ light-absorbing agents and near infrared lasers to selectively destroy cancer cells. We also investigate photothermal effects on target tissue.  We are the first group to use magnetic resonance thermometry (MRT) to monitor temperature distribution in tumors during laser irradiation.