Macrophages play a critical role both in normal physiology (tissue resident macrophages, TRM) and in disease states (for example tumor associated macrophages, TAM). Understanding macrophage relative numbers, distribution profiles, and mobilization and flux rates across different diseases and normal physiologic conditions could enhance the effects of macrophage-targeted therapies. The Weissleder Laboratory has developed macrophage-specific nanomaterials allowing the visualization of macrophage biology in vivo. The first generation of these nanoparticles was labeled with the radioisotope zirconium-89 (89Zr), which has a half-life of 3.27 days. These materials have been used for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging in murine models of cancer, myocardial infarction and atherosclerosis, all diseases where inflammation has been associated with adverse prognosis. To optimize the nanoparticles for clinical translation, we will explore radiolabeling with fluoride-18 (18F), the most widely used and commonly available PET isotope. Our goal is to develop a rapid, efficient, fully automated radio-synthesis of 18F-labeled nanoparticles.
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:
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.
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