Public Defence: Catherine Christie

MD Catherine Christie at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Using cell-based delivery as vectors for drugs, tumor antigens and nanoparticles for light based phototherapies for gliomas. Efficacy of macrophages mediated by photothermal therapies (PTT) and or photochemical internalization (PCI).” for the degree of Dr. Philos. (Doctor Philosophiae).

Photo: OHSU University

Trial Lecture – chosen topic- time and place

See Trial Lecture on a chosen topic

Trial lecture – given topic – time and place

See Trial lecture on a given topic

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Herwig Kostron, Privat Klinik Hochrum, Austria
  • Second opponent: Professor Rolf Bjerkvig, Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Iver Arne Langmoen, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate Professor Reidun Torp, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo


 The immune system, made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs is the body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Macrophages are one of the most important cells in the immune system. Not only do they play an immunological role helping to destroy bacteria and viruses but have an important function as “house keeper” cleaning up dead cells and cellular debris, a vital contribution without which the host would not survive.

Recent research has demonstrated that malignant tumors send out chemical signals which actively cause macrophages to migrate towords and infiltrate into the tumor. Once in the tumor environment they are polarized  to alter their function  and instead of killing the cancer cells  they promote tumor  growth, establish needed tumor circulation, and cause the spread of cancer cells to other organs forming distant metastatic growth.

The aims of this thesis were to  harness  the innate ability of macrophages to actively migrate to tumors and act as a cellular «Trojan Horse»  transporting  anti-cancer nanoparticles or drugs. Once in the tumor  the released payload of cancer killing agents were activated by laser light combined with photoactivating drugs.

It was  found that the combination of macrophage delivery of anti-cancer agents, combined with the use of laser light based therapies to activate the agents, greatly enhance the therapeutic effect otherwise obtained in the absence of laser light.

Combinations of these therapies could completely destroy mini brain tumors growing in cell culture.

In addition macrophages loaded with dead brain tumor cells, that were killed by light mediated therapy, could be used as anti-cancer vaccines, preventing brain tumor development in vaccinated experimental animals.

Overall combining macrophage transport with light activation proved a highly effective method of targeted tumor therapy.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published May 28, 2019 2:47 PM - Last modified May 28, 2019 3:33 PM