Adam de la Zerda: We can start winning the war against cancer
Adam de la Zerda - Biologist, electrical engineer
Adam de la Zerda develops new medical imaging technologies to detect and destroy cancer. Full bio
and the National Cancer Institute declared
but I don't buy that.
anyone here will question that.
this war against cancer
a story about a good friend of mine.
Ehud was diagnosed with brain cancer.
of the most deadly forms of brain cancer.
that they only have 12 months,
they have to find a treatment.
find a cure, he will die.
of different treatments to choose from,
if a treatment is even working or not,
about three months or so.
into his first treatment,
just a few days into that treatment,
"Adam, I think this is working.
Something is happening."
How do you know that, Ehud?"
I feel so terrible inside.
we got the news, it didn't work.
into his second treatment.
gotta be working there."
again we get bad news.
and then his fourth treatment.
is going through such a huge struggle,
are going through your head.
this is the best that we can offer?
more and more into this.
the best that doctors could offer Ehud.
patients with brain cancer generally.
all across the board with cancer.
have seen those statistics before.
how many patients actually died of cancer,
that many things that have changed.
for example, on the rise.
for example, stomach cancer
of the biggest killers of all cancers,
Anyone knows, by the way?
struck by stomach cancer?
medical technology breakthrough
that saved humanity from stomach cancer?
or a better diagnostic?
no longer eating spoiled meats.
that happened to us so far
the refrigerator was invented.
in cancer research.
of good cancer research
that taught us about cancer.
to still do ahead of us.
reason why this is the case,
medical imaging comes in.
of the best medical imaging
to brain cancer patients,
to all cancer patients,
where the bones are,
where tumors are.
outside of the body,
into these patients by the billions,
that are hungry for sugar.
for example, lights up there.
needs a lot of sugar.
lights up there.
is the thing that's clearing
a wonderful technology.
to look into someone's body
each and every one of the cells
allowing us to look into someone's body
has the cancer metastasized?
are showing you very clearly
where is the tumor.
small little hot spots there.
are in any one of these tumors?
that this number sunk in.
of these small little blips
at least 100 million cancer cells
like a very large number,
an incredibly large number,
in order to pick up something early enough
to do something meaningful about it,
that are a thousand cells in size,
a handful of cells in size.
pretty far away from this.
a little experiment here.
to now play and imagine
that the tumor is out.
have already been removed,
about the size of a golf ball or so
of this person's brain.
everything looks the same,
and healthy brain tissue
a little bit on the brain,
a little harder, stiffer,
a little bit like this and say,
and start cutting the tumor
to a stage where you think,
I took out everything."
like, pretty crazy --
challenging decision of your life here.
and let this patient go,
some leftover cancer cells behind
around the tumor
have to take every single day
to a few friends of mine in the lab,
there's got to be a better way."
that there's got to be a better way.
the sugar and so on.
instead of using sugar molecules,
little particles made of gold,
interesting chemistry around them.
to look for cancer cells.
these gold particles
every single cell in our body
or are you a healthy cell?
we're sticking in and shining out
"Hey, look at me, I'm here."
through some interesting cameras
maybe we can guide brain cancer surgeons
and leaving the healthy brain alone.
and boy, this works well.
into this mouse's brain
growing in this mouse's brain,
and asked the doctor
as if that was a patient,
out of the tumor.
to see where the gold particles are.
into this mouse,
right here at the very left there
where the gold particles are.
is that these gold particles
"Hey, we're here. Here's the tumor."
to the doctor yet.
now please start cutting away the tumor,
just took the first quadrant of the tumor
is now missing.
the second quadrant, the third,
the doctor came back to us and said,
What do you want me to do?
some extra margins around?"
"You've missed those two spots,
and then let's take a look."
and lo and behold,
that the cancer is completely gone
huge amounts of healthy brain
as they take away a tumor,
have to guess with their thumb.
to take those tiny little leftover tumors.
even if it's just a handful of cells,
extra margins that were left positive,
that were left there.
is where I think we're heading from here.
what should we be working on now?
medical imaging is heading to
of these cells separately.
way, way earlier in the process,
so we can actually do something about it.
of the cells might also allow us
we are now getting to a point
these cancer cells real questions,
to the treatment we are giving you or not?
to stop the treatment right away,
nasty, nasty chemotherapy drugs,
side effects of the drugs
in fact not even helping them.
from winning the war against cancer,
with better medical imaging techniques
About the speaker:Adam de la Zerda - Biologist, electrical engineer
Adam de la Zerda develops new medical imaging technologies to detect and destroy cancer.
Why you should listen
Adam de la Zerda is an assistant professor at the Departments of Structural Biology and Electrical Engineering (courtesy) at Stanford University – School of Medicine. He completed his undergraduate degree in computer engineering and physics from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in 2005 Summa Cum Laude. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2011, where he developed the Photoacoustic Molecular Imaging technique with Sanjiv Sam Gambhir. He was then a postdoctoral fellow at the lab of Carolyn Bertozzi at UC Berkeley – Chemistry Department, before joining the Stanford faculty in 2012.
de la Zerda's research interests span the broad field of molecular imaging. His lab focuses on developing new optical imaging instrumentation and chemistry tools to study the complex spatiotemporal behavior of biomolecules in living subjects. The lab uses animal models for cancer and ophthalmic diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. His research efforts span both basic science and clinically translatable work.
de la Zerda has received many awards and honors for his work, including the Pew-Stewart Scholar for Cancer Research, the AFOSR Young Investigator Award, Baxter Faculty Scholar Award, Dale F. Frey Award, Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 in Science and Healthcare for 2012 and 2014, NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Era of Hope Distinguished Predoctoral Poster Award, Best Poster Presentation at SPIE Photonics West, the Young Investigator Award at the World Molecular Imaging Congress, the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Award for Predoctoral researchers, the Bio-X Graduate Student Fellowship and first place at the Bay Area Entrepreneurship Contest. He has published papers in leading journals including Nature Medicine, Nature Nanotechnology and PNAS. He holds a number of patents and is the founder of a medical device company, Click Diagnostics.
Adam de la Zerda | Speaker | TED.com