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We honor Dr. Quynh-Thu Le

We honor Dr. Quynh-Thu Le

July 20, 2020

To Honor - Quynh-Thu Le MD, FACR, FASTRO

Dr. Quynh-Thu Le, Chair of the Radiation Oncology Department of Stanford University, is who we would like to honor. Dr Le brings to her patients not only deep knowledge of their cancer but also a kind, compassionate bedside manner. Her research is in the field of head and neck cancer and she and her team are making new discovering in the laboratory and clinic each day. We honor this remarkable doctor and thank her for her service.

  1. Protecting stem cells to improve saliva function in patients after head and neck irradiation. Dr. Le’s lab was one of the first to identify and characterize stem cells that are capable of regeneration in adult saliva glands. Dr. Le, in collaboration with Stanford colleagues, is working to identify new drugs that can protect these stem cells from radiation damage and stimulate the cells to form new glandular structures once treatment is completed. They have identified a drug that is safe to use in patient and that when given with radiation, can protect salivary gland from radiation damage and preserve saliva function in mice. In addition, the drug can be given by mouth and it’s inexpensive to make. She has received FDA approval to conduct a clinical trial testing this new drug in the clinic. If proven successful, this drug can be used in routine clinical care to prevent radiation-related dry mouth. This will have a huge global impact since the incidence of head and neck cancer is rising in middle and low-income countries.

  2. Targeting Galectin-1 in HNC cancer. Dr. Le’s lab has shown that Galectin-1 is released by the tumor cells when they are exposed to either low oxygen condition or radiation. In addition, Galectin-1 secretion decreases the number of good immune cells (lymphocytes) while increases the number of bad immune cells (suppressive myeloid cells) in the tumor and circulation, thereby suppressing the immune system and causing the tumor to grow and spread. Dr. Le’s group is testing different strategies to target Galectin-1 to see whether these approaches would stimulate the patient’s immune system and enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy in head and neck cancer patients.