Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is now the first doctor to successfully cure cancer in mice through the use of her, highly innovative and groundbreaking, technique which utilizes laser-activated nanoparticles.
Dr. Green’s technology was proven successful within a 15-day testing on mice. Unlike common forms of cancer treatment, the laser-activated nanoparticles do not require chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation- Green’s essential goal.
Dr. Green’s story of inspiration is one that embodies a journey from tragedy to triumph. As a toddler, her mother passed away and she and her siblings were taken in by her grandparents. Sadly, just a couple years later, at age 4 her grandparents passed away as well sending Hadiyah off to live with her aunt, Ora Lee Smith, and uncle, General Lee Smith.
After successfully completing a degree in physics and optics at Alabama A&M University on a full-ride scholarship, Green went on to earn her Ph.D. in physics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with yet another full scholarship. She is recognized as one of the first African American women in the U.S. to achieve a Ph.D. in physics in addition to being the 2nd African American woman and fourth African American to earn a Ph.D. in physics from UAB. After earning her many degrees, she worked within the Comprehensive Cancer Center for 5 years before moving on to the Department of Pathology for 1 year.
Sadly, sometime between her undergraduate and graduate work, Green faced the devastating news that her aunt had cancer. In addition, Ora Lee Smith had also chosen to opt out of chemotherapy and radiation due to their traumatic effects. For the next three months of Ora Lee’s life, Green cared for her and grievously watched her health deteriorate. Shortly after Ora Lee’s passing, Green faced yet another tragedy as her uncle, General Lee, was diagnosed with cancer. Unlike his wife, he chose to partake in chemotherapy treatment, however, Green still faced the same hardship as she watched her uncle deteriorate until his passing as well.
These unfortunate experiences inspired Dr. Green to develop a treatment that didn’t force people to either decline treatment or face the dreadful side effects of chemotherapy or radiation. After conducting research for more than a decade, Green’s technology has victoriously cured cancer tumors within mice. Through her nonprofit, the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation, established in remembrance of her aunt, Dr. Green focuses on redesigning cancer treatments to reduce the suffering of patients through a treatment that is accessible, affordable, and effective.
In addition to being granted a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to expand her research, Dr. Green is also attempting to fundraise $10 million through the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation in order to begin human trials.
Because of her trailblazing work, Dr. Green was recently presented the Key to the City and Historic Icon Award by the City of Selma Alabama, the Research Advocate of the Year Award, and named one of the “100 Most Influential African Americans” by Ebony magazine alongside a multitude of other awards.
By: Nialani Pringle