Press Releases and News

Dr. Chi Tonglien Viet Awarded Best Resident Basic Science Paper by the American Head and Neck Society

April 4, 2013


Dr. Chi Tonglien Viet, an investigator at the NYU College of Dentistry, has received an award for the Best Resident Basic Science Paper by the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) for her manuscript, “Decitabine and Cisplatin Combination Therapy For Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.” Dr. Viet will receive her award at the AHNS Annual Meeting, held April 10-11, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. 

Dr. Viet’s research was funded by a grant she received from the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation. The project was conducted with co-authors Dongmin Dang and Yi Ye, under the direction of Dr. Brian Schmidt, in conjunction with the NYU Oral Cancer Center and Cancer Pain Laboratory. Cisplatin is the main chemotherapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, patients can develop resistance to cisplatin. Currently, no other equally effective drugs are available for patients once they become cisplatin resistant. 
Gene expression can be regulated by epigenetic mechanisms such as methylation. Methylation effectively silences gene expression. Dr. Viet hypothesized that DNA methylation, and therefore silencing, of key genes leads to cisplatin resistance. Furthermore, she tested whether decitabine, a drug that reverses methylation, would restore the effectiveness of cisplatin through changes in gene expression. Dr. Viet examined the effect of decitabine and cisplatin combination therapy on cancer pain and proliferation.  
Dr. Viet found that pre-treatment with decitabine restored the effectiveness of cisplatin in a cisplatin-resistant HNSCC cell line. Furthermore, decitabine and cisplatin combination treatment significantly reduced tumor growth and mechanical pain in preclinical models. Finally, Dr. Viet demonstrated combination treatment altered gene expression toward a cisplatin-sensitive gene profile. 
Dr. Viet’s findings are an important step forward in optimizing cancer control and reducing cancer symptoms in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. 
About The American Head and Neck Society--The American Head and Neck Society is an organization of physicians, scientists and allied health professionals dedicated to improving the understanding of Head and Neck Cancer and the care of patients afflicted with that disease. The purpose of the society is to promote and advance the knowledge of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of neoplasms and other diseases of the head and neck, to promote and advance research in diseases of the head and neck, and to promote and advance the highest professional and ethical standards.
About the NYU Oral Cancer Center--The NYU Oral Cancer Center provides patients with the latest diagnostic techniques for screening, prevention, treatment and therapy and engages in pioneering research that is changing medicine. 
About New York University College of Dentistry--New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) is the third oldest and the largest dental school in the US, educating more than 8 percent of all dentists. NYUCD has a significant global reach and provides a level of national and international diversity among its students that is unmatched by any other dental school.


NYU Oral Cancer Center