Jason Warram, Ph.D., associate professor with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Otolaryngology, has received a seven-year NIH R37 MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute for his research project, “Reduction of Tumor-Positive Margins in Oncologic Surgery.”
In head and neck cancer, tumor-positive margins occur in up to 30 percent of cases, directly correlating with local-regional relapse and poor survival. The high rate of positive margins has not changed in 20 years. Given that the majority of patients with head and neck cancer receive surgery as part of their definitive management, an incremental gain would dramatically impact survival outcomes. By utilizing targeted fluorescent agents for surgery, known as fluorescence-guided surgery, this approach will illuminate head and neck tumor-positive margins during surgery to reduce the rates of recurrence and improve overall surgical outcomes.
Warram holds secondary appointments in the Department of Surgery, Radiology and Biomedical Engineering and is an associate scientist in the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.