Research Highlight

Systemic administration of 89Zr-labeled nanoparticles allows for macrophage specific PET-CT imaging of bilateral flank tumors (CT-26, colon carcinoma cells) in mice. Imaging was performed 24 hours post injection of nanoparticles.

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

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.



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:

Assessment of Atherosclerotic Changes using Ferumoxytol as MRI Contrast Agent

Quantitative Multimodal Imaging of Tumor Response to Radiation

Erythropoietin improves antitumor immune response through reversal of the hypoxic tumor microenvironment

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

Longitudinal assessment of tumor heterogeneity during immunotherapy for metastatic melanoma

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

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

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

Targeting WASp using Wiskostatin-gold nanoparticles

Nanomedicine for Safe Healing of Bone Trauma

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

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

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

Co-delivery of antibiotics and topoisomerase inhibitors to overcome chemoresistance

miRNA analysis in mouse model of metastatic breast cancer. (Proj 2) The inhibition of PD-L1 on a Pan02 cell line w/ siRNA-nanodrug & gemcitabine treatment

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

Digital diffraction diagnostics for lymphoma and HPV

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

Inhibiting DNA repair after nanoparticle-amplified radiation therapy

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

Identification of novel therapeutic targets of the Notch1 signaling pathway

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

Use of a Triblock Copolymer Hydrogel for Controlled Release of Cisplatin and BMN-673

Nanoencapsulation of tyrosine kinase inhibitors and their effects on pathway inhibition

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