Prof. Engin Umut Akkaya of the Department of Chemistry and UNAM has received the Turkish Association of Pharmacists (TEB) Academy of Pharmacy’s highest award, given to recognize “eminently distinguished achievement.” This is the first time the Academy has presented this award to a chemist.
Prof. Akkaya’s work in radically transforming the photodynamic therapy (PDT) of cancer has received worldwide attention and been featured on the covers of leading scientific journals. Photodynamic therapy has been a promising modality for treating cancer; however, for optimal efficiency, the tumor tissues being targeted must have normal oxygen levels, and the light used for excitation must be able to reach the tumor region. These two issues have generated formidable problems, limiting the practicability of the methodology. The research done in the Akkaya lab is expected to extend the applicability of the treatment to deep-seated and hypoxic tumors.