Meet the PI

Man with salt-and-pepper hair wearing a lab coat over purple shirt and tie.

Baran Sumer, M.D.

Baran Sumer, M.D., is Professor and Chief of the Division of Head and Neck Oncology in UT Southwestern Medical Center's Department of Otolaryngology, where he has served on the faculty since 2007. A specialist in head and neck cancer surgery and reconstruction, Dr. Sumer is also Director of the Head and Neck Oncology Disease Oriented Team at Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and holds the T.C. Lupton Family Professorship in Patient Care. He was also the inaugural Program Director for the Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship.

Dr. Sumer serves on committees for NRG Oncology, the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS), the World Molecular Imaging Society (WMIS) and serves as a permanent member of the Innovations in Nanosystems and Nanotechnology (INN) study section for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for Scientific Review.

He has participated in a wide variety of research studies devoted to advancing diagnostic and therapeutic techniques and technologies for head and neck cancer, such as fluorescent imaging, biosensing, hyperspectral imaging, photodynamic therapy, and image-guided surgery.

His collaboration with another UT Southwestern faculty member, Jinming Gao, Ph.D., has led to several inventions in their joint lab, including a pH-sensitive nanoparticle that can be used to deliver therapeutics and imaging agents specifically to cancers. Drs. Sumer and Gao's work with the pH nanosensor has resulted in a European phase 1 clinical trial, completed in 2019, and a phase 2 clinical trial in the U.S. for cancer patients with peritoneal metastases, completed in 2023.

The fluorescent nanoparticle they co-developed for these clinical trials illuminates cancer cells during surgery, potentially allowing surgeons to visualize the tumors more accurately. This nanoparticle, pegsitacianine (ONM100), is manufactured by OncoNano Medicine, a biotechnology company co-founded by Dr. Sumer and Dr. Gao, and was featured in the Dallas Morning News.

Dr. Sumer is currently the PI of another phase 2 clinical trial, the ILLUMINATE trial, which is testing the ability of pegsitacianine to identify unknown primary cancers of the head and neck and to fluorescently label head and neck cancers undergoing robotic surgery. The ILLUMINATE trial is funded by a R01 grant from the NCI.

Clinical Profile

Contact Department of Otolaryngology
Phone: 214.645.3535