In September 2015, Dr. de Gracia Lux joined the newly established Translational Research in Ultrasound Theranostics (TRUST) program at UT Southwestern Department of Radiology. Her current research interest is combining creative synthetic chemistry and formulations to develop ultrasound contrast agents with sophisticated architectures aimed to address a wide range of challenges in cancer imaging and treatment.
Our research is focused on the development of new methods to formulate stable low boiling point perfluorocarbon emulsions and the design of new activatable ultrasound contrast agents. Ongoing projects include immunotherapy of B-cell malignancies using ultrasound-based gene delivery and the detection of early stage ovarian cancer with a targeted ultrasound contrast agent.
In September 2017, Dr. de Gracia Lux received the Idea Award with Special Focus from the Department of Defense. The goal of this grant is to develop a game changing approach for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia by generating CAR T-cells directly in vivo using microbubbles. To reach this goal, ultrasound-mediated gene delivery and CAR T-cell therapy will be merged to create externally controllable cells aimed at depleting malignant B-cells.