Research Highlight

Imaging the tumor uptake of a DFO-PEG-like Nanoprobe (DFO-PN) by a mCherry expressing HT-29 tumor. Black and white CT images and color PET/CT images of two mice are shown at the (a) 1 h vascular phase, (b) 24 h vascular/tumor phase and, (c) 48 h tumor uptake phase. Red arrows show tumors. (d) Fluorescence images of two different mice from above are shown for the (d) pre-injection mCherry tumor fluorescence (purple), (e) 2 h vascular phase of DFO-PN fluorescence (green), (f) 24 h vascular and tumor phase of DFO-PN fluorescence and, (g) at the 48 h tumor phase. DFO-PN shows a slow uptake by the mCherry/HT-29 tumor by PET or fluorescence.

Iron-chelating PEG-like nanoprobes as therapeutic and 89Zr/PET imaging agents

Since iron is an essential element for cell growth and proliferation, iron chelation (removal) is a strategy for achieving cytostasis, inhibiting the division of cancer cells. The Josephson lab has developed PEG-like nanoprobes (PNs) that consist of the iron-chelator (iron binder) deferoxamine (DFO), a fluorochrome, and PEG polymer. These DFO bearing PNs (“DFO-PNs)” bind 89Zr (a radioactive metal ion detected by PET imaging) and can be imaged with PET/CT or by surface fluorescence (see Figure). Preliminary results indicate a DFO-PN can inhibit the growth of at least one tumor cell line. The goal of this project is to demonstrate that DFO-PNs can inhibit the division of a variety of tumor cell lines, using techniques for measuring the inhibition of cell division, instead of cell death, developed in the Josephson lab. Success of these experiments will support the use of DFO-PNs in animal models of cancer, and their possible clinical translation.



Trainee Research

CaNCURE provides trainees with a 6-month hands-on research experience and one-on-one mentoring by leading researchers in cancer nanomedicine.   Projects performed by current and past participants include:

Nanomedicine for Safe Healing of Bone Trauma

Optimization of macrophage-targeted nanoparticles for positron emission tomography imaging in cancer

Radiotherapeutic synergism of thermogelling cisplatin-loaded polymers for cervical cancer treatment

Biological mechanisms of gold nanoparticle-enhanced radiation therapy of prostate cancer

Iron-chelating PEG-like nanoprobes as therapeutic and 89Zr/PET imaging agents

Co-delivery of antibiotics and topoisomerase inhibitors to overcome chemoresistance

Nano-plasmonic exosome (nPLEX) assays for exosome analysis and antibody validation

Tracking pancreatic adenocarcinoma response to treatment using targeted, multi-modal nanoparticles

Pharmacokinetic analysis of changes in temozolomide distribution after antiangiogenic treatment of glioblastoma

Clinical immunotherapy application in metastatic glioblastoma

Uptake and localization of nanoparticles in prostate and lung cancer cells as a function of time and nanoparticle type

Combined delivery of targeted liposomal chemotherapeutics and photodynamic therapy to treat pancreatic cancer

Quantification of SPION accumulation in tumors using positive-contrast MRI

Small T Antigen Effect on Mitotic Proteins B-Myb and FOXM1

Digital diffraction diagnostics for lymphoma and HPV

Localized chemo- and chemo-radiation for the treatment of prostate cancer

Delivery of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles via Biodegradable PLGA Dissolving Microneedles for Sustainable Release

Combined Cisplatin and Olaparib nanoparticles for ovarian cancer therapy

Evaluation of deep learning approaches in an integrated PET/MRI scanner to generate pelvis attenuation maps and characterize prostate cancer

Analysis of DREAM and E2F1 Competition for Cell Cycle Promoters during G1.

Nanoencapsulation of tyrosine kinase inhibitors and their effects on pathway inhibition

Investigation of a miRNA associated with cancer metastasis. Proj 2-Development of a novel nanoparticle for MPI analysis of thromboses

Use of CT Texture Analysis for Characterization and Prognostication of Incidental Adnexal Lesions

T1-weighted imaging of primary pancreatic adenocarcinoma using magnetic ferumoxytol nanoparticles

Implementation of novel MR-based attenuation correction in PET/MR pelvic scans

Soleil Doggett (Biology, '16) talks to her fellow peers about her research on oxygenating tumors to stimulate the anti-tumor immune response.


Trainee e-portfolios

Photo credit: Tom Kates Photography

While on co-op, trainees document their research in an e-portfolio.  This gives trainees the opportunity to provide regular updates on their research progress, reflect on training they are receiving, and explain how their research fits within the field of cancer nanomedicine.  These research e-portfolios can be accessed through individual trainee profiles.  The complete collection may be found here.

Check out this month’s featured e-portfolios by Rachel Fontana and Jordan Harris!


Presentation at CaNCURE Nanomedicine Day

At the completion of their co-op, trainees are provided with the opportunity to present their research to a wider audience.  In our 1st annual CaNCURE Nanomedicine Day, trainees prepared interactive, digital posters to display on electronic poster boards.  Over 100 faculty, students, and researchers attended our first event!

Check out the news article and congrats to all the poster winners!

Jordan Harris: Most Innovative Cancer Research Award
Jeremy Thong: Best Undergraduate Research Poster Award
Craig Pille: Most Promising Translational Research Award
Bryan Kynnap: Most Promising Basic Science Award
Jordan Harris: Top Chemical Engineering Poster Award