Department of Radiation Oncology

Theresa M. Busch

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Theresa M. Busch, Ph.D.

Research Professor of Radiation Oncology
Department: Radiation Oncology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Radiation Biology Division
Department of Radiation Oncology
University of Pennsylvania
Smilow Center for Translational Research, Room 8-126
3400 Civic Center Blvd., Bldg. 421
Philadelphia, PA 19104-5156
Office: 215-573-3168
B.S. (Biophysics)
University of Scranton, 1993.
Ph.D. (Biophysics)
University of New York at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute Division, Buffalo, NY, 1998.
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Description of Research Expertise

Our primary research focus is the investigation of photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of solid malignancies. In PDT, diseased tissue is illuminated by specific wavelengths of visible light after the delivery of a photosensitizer to that tissue. The light-excited photosensitizer interacts with oxygen to produce reactive oxygen species that damage the tissue and its associated stroma, including the supporting vascular network.

Our research centers on the study of biophysical limitations of treatment response to PDT. This includes the study of heterogeneities in the distributions of oxygen, photosensitizing drug, and light. Our studies have found that PDT can create widespread, severe hypoxia during illumination, even in tumor cells immediately adjacent to perfused blood vessels. Furthermore, noninvasive monitoring has shown PDT effect on tumor oxygenation and blood flow during the illumination period to be predictive of an animal’s long-term response to therapy. Such findings are extremely relevant to clinical PDT applications, where significant heterogeneity in hypoxia and photosensitizer distributions among the tumors of PDT patients will contribute to variable therapeutic outcomes. Indeed, we have documented a relationship between biochemical (PSA) response to PDT in prostate cancer patients and levels of photosensitizer drug and light energy in their prostates. Ultimately, in order to improve the clinical therapeutic index and efficacy of PDT, we aim to alter the microenvironment of tumors undergoing treatment as guided by noninvasive monitoring of their response.

Selected Publications

Cramer GM, Davis RW IV, Klampatsa A, Moon E, Cengel KA, Busch TM: Surgery-induced immunosuppression and photodynamic therapy. 17th World Congress of the International Photodynamic Association, Boston, MA June 2019 Notes: (oral).

Amirshaghaghi A, Yan L, Miller J, Daniel Y, Stein JM, Busch TM, Cheng Z, Tsourkas A: Chlorin e6-Coated Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticle (SPION) Nanoclusters as a Theranostic Agent for Dual-Mode Imaging and Photodynamic Therapy. Sci Rep 9(1): 2613, Feb 2019.

Busch TM: Looking to the Innate Immune System for Imageable Biomarkers of PDT Response. International Society for Optics and Photonics, Photonics West, Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics, Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA Feb 2019 Notes: (oral, presenter).

Mahmoudi K, Garvey KL, Bouras A, Cramer G, Stepp H, Jesu Raj JG, Bozec D, Busch TM*, Hadjipanayis CG* *Co-corresponding and Senior Authors : 5-aminolevulinic acid photodynamic therapy for the treatment of high-grade gliomas. J Neurooncol 141(3): 595-607, Feb 2019.

Davis RW 4th, Snyder E, Miller J, Carter S, Houser C, Klampatsa A, Albelda SM, Cengel KA, Busch TM: Luminol Chemiluminescence Reports Photodynamic Therapy-Generated Neutrophil Activity In Vivo and Serves as a Biomarker of Therapeutic Efficacy. Photochem Photobiol 95(1): 430-438, Jan 2019.

Rice SR, Li YR, Busch TM, Kim MM, McNulty S, Dimofte A, Zhu TC, Cengel KA, Simone CB 2nd: A Novel Prospective Study Assessing the Combination of Photodynamic Therapy and Proton Radiation Therapy: Safety and Outcomes When Treating Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Photochem Photobiol 95(1): 411-418, Jan 2019.

Cramer G, Shin M, Hagan S, Katz SI, Simone CB 2nd, Busch TM, Cengel KA: Modeling Epidermal Growth Factor Inhibitor-mediated Enhancement of Photodynamic Therapy Efficacy Using 3D Mesothelioma Cell Culture. Photochem Photobiol 95(1): 397-405, Jan 2019.

Cramer GM, Simone CB 2nd, Busch TM, Cengel KA: Adjuvant, neoadjuvant, and definitive radiation therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Journal of Thoracic Disease 10(21), Aug 2018.

Davis RW 4th, Papasavvas E, Klampasta A, Putt M, Montaner LJ, Culligan MJ, McNulty S, Friedberg JS, Simone CB 2nd, Singhal S, Albelda SM, Cengel KA, Busch TM: A preclinical model to investigate the role of surgically-induced inflammation in tumor responses to intraoperative photodynamic therapy. Lasers Surg Med 50(5): 440-450, July 2018.

Ong YH, Miller J, Chandra M, Zhu TC, Yodh AG, Busch TM: Blood- flow-informed Photodynamic Therapy Improves Therapeutic Efficacy. 2018 Biennial Meeting of the American Society for Photobiology, Tampa, FL May 2018 Notes: (oral).

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Last updated: 06/30/2019
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