On Thursday, May 9th, cancer centers across Big Ten universities held a notable gathering. Two members of the Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL): Timothy M. Fan and Viktor Gruev, led this month’s Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (CRC) Grand Rounds.

Viktor Gruev is a Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Program Leader for Cancer Measurement Technology and Data Science at the CCIL. Timothy Fan is a Professor and Assistant Head for Graduate Studies and Research at the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine and Associate Director for Translational Research and Development at the CCIL.

The overarching topics for this meeting included advances in imaging technologies and immunotherapeutic strategies for improving cancer detection and therapy. With personal expertise and years of experience within the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, both scientists delved into their topics during the discussion.

Tim Fan and Viktor Gruev

Timothy Fan evaluated therapies in naturally occurring and immunocompetent canine models. Specifically, intratumoral anchored cytokine therapy strategies show promise to improve cancer control through immune activation. Including pet dogs with naturally occurring cancers can help generate high-value biological data. This work supports the advancement of similar technologies and work toward human Phase 1 clinical trials.

Viktor Gruev’s topic focused on bioinspired imaging sensors for image-guided cancer surgery, using technology with near-infrared (NIR) molecular probes. Gruev discussed his developmental work in multispectral imaging instruments for imaging tumors and positive lymph nodes. Specialized cameras can record information to display on wearable goggles for surgeons to use during intraoperative procedures.

Both scientists’ research provided this month’s Big Ten CRC Grand Rounds with innovation and inspiration for furthering cancer treatment.

This story was written by Florence Lin, CCIL Communications Intern