Research Highlight

A) First, the prostate-specific membrane antigen inhibitor (PSMA-I) will be synthesized using click chemistry. B) The PSMA-I will then be anchored onto the surface of our nanoparticle Feraheme. C) In vitro cell line tests will test the toxicity and non-specific uptake of FH-PSMA-I in PSMA-positive and PSMA-negative prostate cancer cell lines. D) Once safety and non-specific uptake has been accounted for, the nanoparticle will be radiolabeled and injected into mice models. E) The mice models will be imaged over the course of a few days to determine the pharmacokinetics of the FH-PSMA-I nanoparticle.

Development of PSMA-targeting nanoparticles for positron emitting tomography imaging in prostate cancer using animal models

The project will focus on using feraheme (FH) as a scaffold to develop PSMA-targeting nanoparticles (NPs) using a PSMA-inhibitor (PSMA-I) in order to better image prostate cancer. Click chemistry will be applied to synthesize the NP quickly and efficiently. Prostate cancer cells display a concentration of PSMA markers 1000x more concentrated on their membrane than non-cancerous prostate cells. Feraheme is an FDA-approved off-label nanoparticle that has very low toxicity and high non-specific cellular uptake, but when a PSMA-I is attached, tissue-specific targeting will be demonstrated by comparing non-specific uptake in PSMA(+) and PSMA(-) tumor cell lines. PSMA is expressed in both the prostate and the brain which allows the NP to target multiple organs. By attaching several targeting structures on the surface of the NP, the synergistic effect will give the FH-PSMA-I NP better diagnostic power in vivo. Eventually, further additions on the surface of the NP will add specificity and will allow subtyping of prostate cancers.



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:

Development of PSMA-targeting nanoparticles for positron emitting tomography imaging in prostate cancer using animal models

Quantification of SPION accumulation in tumors using positive-contrast MRI

Combined Cisplatin and Olaparib nanoparticles for ovarian cancer therapy

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

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

Clinical immunotherapy application in metastatic glioblastoma

Software with built-in neuroanatomy atlas provides insight into cancer treatment

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

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

Surface-targeting, ligand-switching nanoparticles for mitochondrial drug delivery in prostate cancer

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

Targeting CXCR4/SDF-1a using phytochemicals to inhibit progression and metastasis of pancreatic cancer

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

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

Radiation enhancement in cancer cells using gold and gadolinium nanoparticles

Assessment of neoadjuvant therapy-induced atherosclerotic changes using ferumoxytol-enhanced MR imaging

Co-delivery of protective substrate and chemotherapy drugs via lipid Bilayer Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles

Identifying genomic and compound dependencies in undifferentiated sarcomas

Injectable thermogelling cisplatin-loaded hydrogels for combined chemo-radiation therapy in cervical cancer

Mechanistic and modeling studies of lipid nanoemulsions impact on oral lapatinib absorption

Quantitative Multimodal Imaging of Tumor Response to Radiation

Nanoencapsulation of tyrosine kinase inhibitors and their effects on pathway inhibition

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

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

Co-delivery of antibiotics and topoisomerase inhibitors to overcome chemoresistance

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