Grad student to be honored by ACS for innovative cancer research

By Andrew Smith
University News Service
November 11, 2013

Texas State University graduate student Travis Cantu was recently selected to attend the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting and Exposition in Dallas March 16-23 to present his academic pursuits in reforming cancer treatment through biomedical polymer engineering.

Cantu’s research focuses on the creation of synthesized chemical polymers capable of conducting photo-thermal energy. Once injected into the body, the polymers travel to the site of cancerous growths and deliver concentrated bursts of heat and light, killing cancer cells. The localized treatment is a promising alternative to current chemotherapy regiments that flood the entire body with toxins and subject patients to severe, often painful side effects.

As an honorary speaker for the ACS’s Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Symposium, Cantu will detail the findings of his work in a short presentation to fellow students, educators and companies from across the industry.

Professors Jennifer Irvin and Tania Betancourt of the university’s Material Science, Engineering and Commercialization (MSEC) Program and Associate Dean Thomas Myers provided Cantu with the necessary guidance and resources to conduct his research. The MSEC program is designed to help students refine their research into marketable technologies and services.

Cantu’s achievement exemplifies the important role of students in establishing Texas State as a major research university.