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Brain cancer imaging device earns Gita Khalili Moghaddam (PhD Biotechnology, 2012) a place in Movers & Shakers, Biobusiness 2020

Brain tumours are the leading cause of cancer death in children and adults <45years (~3800 deaths/year in England and Wales). Targeted and immune therapies failed to provide benefits and, as no promising novel treatments are on the horizon, it is critical to optimise our existing treatments. Surgery is a mainstay of brain tumour treatment which, as clinically proven, improves survival. However, most treated patients develop recurrence adjacent to the resection cavity due to technical limitations of existing imaging technologies. 

Gita is leading the TumourVue team that has addressed this by developing a disruptive surgical imaging technology, which is cost-effective and operates in a passive mode (i.e. label-free; no pre-operative patient preparation).

Empowered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) computational capacity, their imaging device provides patient-specific margin of brain tumours via real-time feedback during surgery. This implies that their imaging device can improve safe resection of brain tumours which is well-known to correlate with improved progression-free and overall survival in patients with brain cancer. This allows to mitigate the socioeconomic burden of brain tumours (£578M/year among working age people). Moreover, TumourVue solution can enhance patient outcomes during the initial surgery which results in savings for the NHS by reducing the need for second-line chemotherapy, re-operation rates and dexamethasone usage in the long-term.

This groundbreaking research earned her a feature in Movers & Shakers in Biobusiness 2020.  Read the 2020 report here:

Gita says about Lucy Cavendish:

“Pondering over my college affiliation at Cambridge, Lucy Cavendish College stood out because its core values were most aligned with mine: Empowering all individuals to reach their maximum incremental potential to make the world a better place for everyone.   

The College activity so far has been centred around women’s inclusion at different levels of the society and I found that appealing because I grew up in a family that values women empowerment and has a strong history of female changemakers – my great grandmother, Bibi Maryam, was the only female leader of the Persian Constitutional Revolution.

Looking at the history of our College, we come across equally influential women – from Lucy Cavendish who reformed women’s education to Noeleen Heyzer, Rosena Allin-Khan and our very own senior tutor, Jane Greatorex, whose role in managing the COVID-19 pandemic is undeniable. 

I arrived in Cambridge with a ‘creation’ view and dream of making a research impact in healthcare. A fundamental drive for my entrepreneurial actions, however, was the rich sense of community at both the University and our College. The College has a strong community of changemakers, some renowned internationally and some are local champions. Almost all ladies I met at Lucy have an inspiring story – being a role model in challenging ingrained traditions of their village to shining as the first female scholar from their country to being a hero in maintaining gender equality within their society. As a Lucian, the College community offered me a safe space to seek counsel and benefit from support of wonderful College members and their constructive feedback. 

I am proud of our College achievement in empowering individuals from different backgrounds over the last 55 years and I am delighted that I can exemplify female leadership in the UK Biobusiness. I am very pleased that now the College is going to enhance its impact by focusing on a second aspect of equality, diversity and inclusion by giving equal opportunity to all those who have the potential to become future leaders.”

About Gita

Her background is in AI and bioengineering with a PhD in biotechnology. Currently, she is a Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellow based in Clinical Neurosurgery at the University of Cambridge. From this December, she will be at GSK Global Health as a UKRI Innovation Scholar. In her entrepreneurial roles, she has been the driving force for the establishment of Bio/MedTech and social initiatives including TumourVue and GlycoVue. Gita’s success has been recognised by being listed as one of the UK’s top 18 women in AI and a finalist for the Techpreneurs Awards for Women 2019. Additionally, she is an equality, diversity and inclusion champion at the Clinical School and the treasurer of Postdoc Society of Trinity College.