Research Highlight

This left image is the abdominal aorta and the right image is a cross section image of the Suprarenal aorta (location signified by the dark black square surrounding the aorta). The right image shows the comparison of a normal aorta vs. an aorta with atherosclerotic changes. The blue particles are Ferumoxtran, which should conglomerate within the macrophages of plaques as shown in the cross section diagram to the right which can be detected by MRI.

The Assessment and Comparison of Ferumoxtran as Contrast Imaging Agent in Patients with Pancreatic Cancers.

Radiation therapy can accelerate atherosclerotic changes, which can lead to serious and significant post-treatment complications for cancer patients. Arthrosclerosis is initially asymptomatic, eventually resulting in an acute onset of symptoms most commonly heart attack and death. It involves the buildup of inflamed plaques in artery walls, characterized by an increased macrophage presence in plaques. Iron oxide particles are able to be taken up from macrophages inside in aortic plaques, which points to their use as contrast agents and benefit as a non-invasive means of diagnosing arthrosclerosis {1]. We are investigating the use Supermagnetic Iron Oxide particle, Ferumoxtran, as an imaging agent for patients with pancreatic cancer. Using changes in T2* values, the amount of atherosclerotic changes in each patient cohorts can be compared. We will identify 3 cohorts of patients who had both pre and 24 hr post scans with Ferumoxtran as a contrast agent: patients without pancreatic cancer, patients with pancreatic cancer who have not received neo-adjuvant therapy, and patients who have pancreatic cancer and who have received neo-adjuvant therapy. The changes in T2* will be compared among each cohort and also to the values from a previous study done with another iron oxide agent Ferumoxytol. Cohorts of patients with specific malignancies also will be established, and the average T2* values of each cohort will be compared to see if there is a relationship between atherosclerotic progression and certain malignancies. Finally, T2* values of the suprarenal and infrarenal aorta will be compared to see if there is a significant difference in atherosclerotic changes between the two sections of the aorta. [1]Alam SR, Stirrat C, Richards J, Mirsadraee S, Semple SK, et. al. Vascular and plaque imaging with ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2015, 17(83): 10.1186/s12968-015-0183-4.



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:

Combined Cisplatin and Olaparib nanoparticles for ovarian cancer therapy

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

The Assessment and Comparison of Ferumoxtran as Contrast Imaging Agent in Patients with Pancreatic Cancers.

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

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

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

Targeting WASp using Wiskostatin-gold nanoparticles

Online monitoring and image-guided treatment of chemoresistant micrometastases

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

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

MCT1 Transporter Inhibition of IMR90 Cells Expressing Inducible Merkel Cell Carcinoma Small T Antigen

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

Optimizing murine cells for in vitro modeling of high-grade serous ovarian cancer

Development of a novel nanogel for non-invasive transdermal delivery of cancer vaccines using hyaluronic acid

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

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

Capture of circulating tumor DNA through the use of biotinylated poly-lysine affixed to gold nanoparticles

Digital diffraction diagnostics for lymphoma and HPV

Identifying genomic and compound dependencies in undifferentiated sarcomas

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