Dr. Hasan’s scientific efforts are focused on photochemistry-based approaches (photodynamic therapy, or PDT) for treatment and diagnosis of disease. The overall strategy is to develop molecular mechanisms and optical imaging-based combination treatment regimens where one treatment arm involves light activation of certain near-infrared-absorbing chemicals. This program identifies various cellular and molecular targets for specific diseases and designs constructs for optimal photochemical treatment effects. The targeting entities include photoactivatable nanoparticles and small molecules.
In cancer, the focus malignancies are ovarian, prostate, pancreas and head and neck cancers. In infections and infectious diseases, efforts are targeted toward developing microbial-enzyme-specific photoactivatable molecules for use in PDT. Target organisms in the infectious diseases are leishmaniasis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
In addition, optimal imaging strategies develop target specific molecular probes for in situ monitoring of cellular processes during treatment such as the up-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor.