The Big Impact
Sandra Davern performs cell based assays to evaluate cell death and DNA damage in response to radiation in order to gain a better understanding of how radioisotope nanoparticles affect the human body.
When Sandra Davern looks to the future, she sees individualized isotopes sent into the body with a specific target: cancer cells.
A radioisotope researcher in the Radioisotope Science and Technology Division at ORNL, Davern is focusing on ways to use nanoparticles — particles 100 nanometers or smaller that can have special properties — to contain those radioisotopes and deliver them directly to cancer cells, where they can decay into different isotopes that irradiate those cells.
The advantage of using nanoparticles as a delivery method is that those “decay daughters” are contained to the target area, rather than entering the body’s circulation and irradiating healthy tissue, she said.