Northeastern University

Combining radiolabeled drugs & PET to study cancer cell-mediated immune response

Alyssa Granito with Dr. Umar Mahmood (MGH)

One of the main components of the body’s natural response to cancer is via cell-mediated immunity. The research project incorporates knowledge about the role of the immune system in cancer with imaging and use of radiopharmaceuticals. We study the interaction of cancer cells with various components of the body’s natural immune response to cancer in an effort to create novel imaging probes and radiolabeled drugs for improved diagnosis and treatment responses. The work focuses on cell-mediated immunity and its role in the body’s immune response to tumor growth and inflammation in various animal models. The research utilizes several different techniques, such as flow cytometry, western blot analysis, and immunofluorescence to study both in vitro and in vivo response. We will also image animal models of cancer with the developed probe by PET imaging to evaluate response to treatment. Being able to investigate immune response allows physicians to better understand the pathophysiology of cancer on an individualized basis and more accurately adjust novel treatment approaches such as immunotherapy thus optimizing enrollment of the best candidates for these groups of treatments and improving treatment effectiveness.