A black woman is likely going to make history as the person who invents a cure for the deadly disease called cancer.
Despite the contributions black women have made in medicine, they are hardly recognized.
In the field of science, black women have oftentimes are used as lab rats rather than scientists.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a broad term. It describes the disease that results when cellular changes cause the uncontrolled growth and division of cells.
Dr. Green is a physicist who is currently an assistant professor at Morehouse School of Medicine in the Physiology Department but is known for building on nanoparticle technology that can be used to cure cancer without radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, or damaging the healthy cells around it.
Cancer is one of the major diseases ravaging the world and whoever finds a cure for it will go down in history and be immortalized. So I hail Dr. Green’s effort.
But this incredible feat was decades in the making. She is a graduate of Alabama A&M University where she studied physics.
After graduating she planned to use her degree to work on improving fiber optics and it was only after watching her aunt deteriorate due to cancer and watching her uncle be diagnosed three months after the death of her aunt that she decided to turn her attention to cancer research.
She proposed the idea of using lasers to develop a cancer treatment that wouldn’t have side effects to physicist Sergey Mirov and in 2011 showed that these nanoparticles could be attached to tumor-specific antibodies in cell culture.
Since then, Dr. Green has started a foundation called the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation in honor of her aunt and was awarded a $1.1 million grant for the ongoing research of a 4 in 1 cancer testing system for early detection, imaging, targeting, and selective treatment of head and neck cancers.
Her goal now is to take her research from the lab and into the doctor’s office and has made it her mission to reduce human suffering by providing cancer care that is accessible, affordable, and effective.
It’s so empowering to know that we have once again taken something that has been used to break us and used our intellect and our wits to turn it into something that can uplift us and many others. I hope that Green’s story can help inspire other young black girls to become physicians and that our intellectual contributions can continue to help push medicine forward.
As mentioned earlier, Dr. Green’s research has yet to be moved into the hospital due to a lack of funding.