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Rahul Ray Lab



Ph.D., Washington State University

Post-doctoral fellowship, MIT

General field of research:

Vitamin D cancer therapeutics; Nanomedicine; Photodynamic therapy

Affiliations other than medicine:

Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research


Biophysics & Physiology

Contact information:

85 East Newton St., M-1002
Phone: (617)-638 8199

85 East Newton St., M-1010
Phone:  (617)-638 8189
Fax: (617)-638 8194


Research group information

Vikram J. Eddy, joneddy85@gmail.com

Kelly Persons, kpersons@bu.edu

Dr. Sibaji Sarkar, ss1@bu.edu


Vitamin D cancer therapeutics; Photodynamic therapy; Targeted drug delivery; Nanomedicine

Summary of research interest:

Cancer Therapeutics with vitamin D:

Vitamin D is a pharmacologically important steroid hormone with demonstrated potential for treating various diseases including cancer, leukemia and psoriasis.  During the past several years our research-interest has focused on various structure-functional aspects of this steroid hormone and its cellular receptors, and elucidation of their signal transduction mechanisms.  This knowledge has guided us to develop unique alkylating derivatives of vitamin D hormone.  Several of these compounds, either alone or in combination have shown strong therapeutic potential in prostate, kidney and pancreatic cancers.  We are currently engaged in the animal-testing phase of these compounds, and their nanosomal counterparts, in addition to elucidating their molecular mechanisms.

Nuclear receptor targeted photodynamic therapy of breast cancer:

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses visible light from laser and a porphyrin dye to treat solid tumors.  Our laboratory has developed unique porphyrin-estrogen/antiestrogen conjugates to target nuclear estrogen receptor in breast cancer cells and kill them selectively.  Currently we are in the process of developing nanosomal preparation of these conjugates along with a mobile light source to develop novel methods to detect, image and treat localized and metastatic breast cancer.


Recent publications:

N. Swamy, W. Xu,  N. Paz, J-C. Hsieh, M.R. Haussler, G.J. Maalouf, G.J, S.C. Mohr, & R. Ray. 2000. Molecular modeling, affinity labeling and site-directed mutagenesis define the key points of interaction between the ligand-binding domain of the vitamin D nuclear receptor and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3.  Biochemistry 39:12162-12171.

N. Swamy, J.F. Head, and R. Ray. 2002. The crystal structure of the complex between actin and human vitamin D-binding protein at 2.5Å resolution.  Biochemistry 41: 9015-9020.

Swamy, N, Persons, K., Chen, T.C., and Ray, R. 2003. 1a,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3-3b-(2)-bromoacetate, an affinity labeling derivative of 1a,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 displays strong antiproliferative and cytotoxic behavior in prostate cancer cells.  Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 89:909-916.

Swamy, N., Chen, T.C., Seleg, S., Dhawan, P., Christakos, S., Stewart, L.V., Weigel, N., Mehta, R.G., Ray, R. 2004. Inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis by 25-hydroxyvitamin D3-3-bromoacetate in prostate cancer cells.  Clinical Cancer Research 10:8018-8027.

Swamy, N., Purohit, A., Fernandez-Gacio, A., Jones, G.B., Ray, R. 2006. Nuclear Estrogen Receptor Targeted photodynamic therapy:   Selective uptake and killing of MCF-7 breast cancer cells by a C17a-alkynylestradiol-porphyrin conjugate.  Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 99:966-977.

Lambert, J.L., Young, C.D., Persons, K.S., Ray, R. 2007. Mechanistic and pharmacodynamic studies of a 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 derivative in prostate cancer cells.  Biochemical & Biophysical Research Communications 361:189-195.

Ray, A., Swamy, N., Ray, R. 2008.  Cross-talk among structural domains of human DBP upon binding 25-hydroxyviatmin D3.  Biochemical & Biophysical Research Communications 365:746-750.

Kaya, T, Swamy, N, Persons, K, Ray, S, Mohr, S.C., Ray, R. 2009. Covalent labeling of nuclear vitamin D receptor with affinity labeling reagents containing a cross-linking probe at three different positions of the parent ligand:  structural and biochemical implications.  Bioorganic Chemistry 37:57-63.

Technologies available for sharing upon request:

LASC Protocol: Novel vitamin D analogs for cancer