Quyen Nguyen uses molecular probes that make tumors -- and just the tumors -- glow, as an extraordinary aid to surgeons.
Dr. Quyen Nguyen’s research (working with Roger Tsien, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry) is focused on the development of fluorescently labeled probes for molecular navigation during surgery. Their first collaborative effort yielded a “smart” probe that makes tumors margins fluoresce, or “glow” and thus easier for surgeons to see and remove accurately during surgery. Their most recent joint effort resulted in another type of probe that can make nerves “glow” during surgery, thus helping surgeons repair injured nerves and avoid inadvertent injury.
She is a professor of surgery and director of the Facial Nerve Clinic at the University of California, San Diego.
“Crazy to think that we’re having surgery, we’re trying to excise cancer, we don’t know where the cancer is. We’re trying to preserve nerves; we can’t see where they are.”
“I want to talk to you about one of the biggest myths in medicine, and that is the idea that all we need are more medical breakthroughs and then all of our problems will be solved.”
“Our society loves to romanticize the idea of the single, solo inventor who, working late in the lab one night, makes an earthshaking discovery, and voila, overnight everything’s changed. That’s a very appealing picture; however, it’s just not true. Medicine today is a team sport.”
“Successful innovation is not a single breakthrough. It is not a sprint. It is not an event for the solo runner. Successful innovation is a team sport, it’s a relay race.”