Overexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptors (VEGFRs) indicates poor prognosis for cancer patients in a variety of clinical studies. Our goal is to develop a tracer for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of VEGFR expression using recombinant human VEGF121 with three lysine residues fused to the N-terminus (denoted as K3-VEGF121), which can facilitate radiolabeling without affecting its VEGFR binding affinity. K3-VEGF121 was conjugated with 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic acid (NOTA) and labeled with 61Cu (t1/2: 3.3 h; 62% β+). The IC50 value of NOTA-K3-VEGF121 for VEGFR-2 was comparable to K3-VEGF121 (1.50 and 0.65 nM, respectively) based on cell binding assay. 61Cu labeling was achieved with good yield (55 ± 10 %) and specific activity (4.2 GBq/mg). Serial PET imaging showed that the 4T1 tumor uptake of 61Cu-NOTA-K3-VEGF121 was 3.4 ± 0.5, 4.9 ± 1.0, 5.2 ± 1.0, and 4.8 ± 0.8 %ID/g (n = 4) at 0.5, 2, 4, and 8 h post-injection respectively, which was consistent with biodistribution data measured by gamma counting. Blocking experiments and ex vivo histology confirmed VEGFR specificity of 61Cu-NOTA-K3-VEGF121. Extrapolated human dosimetry calculation showed that liver was the organ with the highest radiation dose. The use of 61Cu as the radiolabel is desirable for small proteins like K3-VEGF121, which has much higher β+ branching ratio than the commonly used 64Cu (62% vs. 17%) thereby offering stronger signal intensity and lower tracer dose for PET imaging.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); VEGF receptor (VEGFR); 61Cu; Positron emission tomography (PET); Tumor angiogenesis; Molecular imaging
The objective of this study was to characterize the in vitro and in vivo properties of the F(ab')2 fragment of TRC105, a human/murine chimeric IgG1 monoclonal antibody that binds with high avidity to human and murine CD105 (i.e. endoglin), and investigate its potential for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of tumor angiogenesis after 61/64Cu-labeling. TRC105-F(ab')2 of high purity was produced by pepsin digestion of TRC105, which was confirmed by SDS-PAGE, HPLC analysis, and mass spectrometry. 61/64Cu-labeling of NOTA-TRC105-F(ab')2 (NOTA denotes 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic acid) was achieved with yields of > 75% (specific activity: ~115 GBq/μmol). PET imaging revealed rapid tumor uptake of 64Cu-NOTA TRC105-F(ab')2 in the 4T1 murine breast cancer model (5.8 ± 0.8, 7.6 ± 0.6, 5.6 ± 0.4, 5.0 ± 0.6, and 3.8 ± 0.7 %ID/g at 0.5, 3, 16, 24, and 48 h post-injection respectively; n = 4). Since tumor uptake peaked at 3 h post-injection, 61Cu-NOTA-TRC105-F(ab')2 also gave good tumor contrast at 3 and 8 h post-injection. CD105 specificity of the tracers was confirmed by blocking studies and histopathology. In conclusion, the use of a F(ab')2 fragment led to more rapid tumor uptake (which peaked at 3 h post-injection) than radiolabeled intact antibody (which often peaked after 24 h post-injection), which may allow for same day immunoPET imaging in future clinical studies.
Positron emission tomography (PET); Tumor angiogenesis; Antibody fragment; F(ab')2; CD105 (endoglin); Breast cancer; 61Cu; 64Cu
Metastatic breast cancer is incurable. The goal of this study was to develop a positron emission tomography (PET)/near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) probe for imaging of CD105 expression in breast cancer experimental lung metastasis. TRC105, a chimeric anti-CD105 antibody, was dual-labeled with a NIRF dye (IRDye 800CW) and 89Zr to yield 89Zr-Df-TRC105-800CW. Luciferase-transfected 4T1 murine breast cancer cells were injected intravenously into female mice to establish the tumor model. Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) was carried out to non-invasively monitor the lung tumor burden. PET imaging revealed that 4T1 lung tumor uptake of 89Zr-Df-TRC105-800CW was 8.7±1.4, 10.9±0.5, and 9.7±1.1 %ID/g at 4, 24, and 48 h post-injection (n = 4), with excellent tumor contrast. Biodistribution studies, blocking, control studies with 89Zr-Df-cetuximab-800CW, ex vivo BLI/PET/NIRF imaging, and histology all confirmed CD105 specificity of the tracer. Broad clinical potential of TRC105-based agents was shown in many tumor types, which also enabled early detection of small metastasis and intraoperative guidance for tumor removal.
Breast cancer; lung metastasis; positron emission tomography (PET); near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF); tumor angiogenesis; CD105 (endoglin); 89Zr
The discovery of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and their potential to knock down virtually any gene of interest has ushered in a new era of RNA interference (RNAi). Clinical use of RNAi faces severe limitations due to inefficiency delivery of siRNA or short hairpin RNA (shRNA). Many molecular imaging techniques have been adopted in RNAi-related research for evaluation of siRNA/shRNA delivery, biodistribution, pharmacokinetics, and the therapeutic effect. In this review article, we summarize the current status of in vivo imaging of RNAi. The molecular imaging techniques that have been employed include bioluminescence/fluorescence imaging, magnetic resonance imaging/spectroscopy, positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, and various combinations of these techniques. Further development of non-invasive imaging strategies for RNAi, not only focusing on the delivery of siRNA/shRNA but also the therapeutic efficacy, is critical for future clinical translation. Rigorous validation will be needed to confirm that biodistribution of the carrier is correlated with that of siRNA/shRNA, since imaging only detects the label (e.g. radioisotopes) but not the gene or carrier themselves. It is also essential to develop multimodality imaging approaches for realizing the full potential of therapeutic RNAi, as no single imaging modality may be sufficient to simultaneously monitor both the gene delivery and silencing effect of RNAi.
RNA interference (RNAi); small interfering RNA (siRNA); gene therapy; molecular imaging; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); positron emission tomography (PET); near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF); bioluminescence imaging (BLI)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded non-coding RNAs of ~22 nucleotides, which can negatively regulate gene expression through induction of mRNA degradation and/or post-transcriptional gene silencing. MiRNAs are key factors in the regulation of many biological processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and death. Since miRNAs are known to be in close association with cancer development, non-invasive imaging of miRNA expression and/or activity is of critical importance, for which conventional molecular biology techniques are not suitable or applicable. Over the last several years, various molecular imaging techniques have been investigated for imaging of miRNAs. In this review article, we summarize the current state-of-the-art imaging of miRNAs, which are typically based on fluorescent proteins, bioluminescent enzymes, molecular beacons, and/or various nanoparticles. Non-invasive imaging of miRNA expression and/or biological activity is still at its infancy. Future research on more clinically relevant, non-toxic techniques is required to move the field of miRNA imaging into clinical applications. Non-invasive imaging of miRNA is an invaluable method that can not only significantly advance our understandings of a wide range of human diseases, but also lead to new and more effective treatment strategies for these diseases.
microRNA (miRNA); bioluminescence imaging (BLI); fluorescence imaging; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); molecular imaging; cancer; nanomedicine
Biological changes following myocardial infarction (MI) lead to increased secretion of angiogenic factors that subsequently stimulate the formation of new blood vessels as a compensatory mechanism to reverse ischemia. The goal of this study was to assess the role of CD105 expression during MI-induced angiogenesis by positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using 64Cu-labeled TRC105, an anti-CD105 monoclonal antibody. MI was induced by ligation of the left anterior descending (LAD) artery in female rats. Echocardiography and 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (18F-FDG) PET scans were performed on post-operative day 3 to confirm the presence of MI in the infarct group and intact heart in the sham group, respectively. Ischemia-induced angiogenesis was non-invasively monitored with 64Cu-NOTA-TRC105 (an extensively validated PET tracer in our previous studies) PET on post-operative days 3, 10, and 17. Tracer uptake in the infarct zone was highest on day 3 following MI, which was significantly higher than that in the sham group (1.41 ± 0.45 %ID/g vs 0.57 ± 0.07 %ID/g; n=3, p<0.05). Subsequently, tracer uptake in the infarct zone decreased over time to the background level on day 17, whereas tracer uptake in the heart of sham rats remained low at all time points examined. Histopathology documented increased CD105 expression following MI, which corroborated in vivo findings. This study indicated that PET imaging of CD105 can be a useful tool for MI-related research, which can potentially improve MI patient management in the future upon clinical translation of the optimized PET tracers.
Angiogenesis; myocardial infarction (MI); positron emission tomography (PET); CD105 (endoglin); molecular imaging; 64Cu
In this study, 64Cu-NOTA-TRC105 (TRC105 is an anti-CD105 monoclonal antibody that binds to both human and murine CD105) positron emission tomography (PET) was used to assess the response to pravastatin treatment in a murine model of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Hindlimb ischemia was induced by ligation of the right femoral arteries in BALB/c mice under anesthesia, and the left hindlimb served as an internal control. Mice in the treatment group were given intraperitoneal pravastatin daily until the end of the study, whereas the animals in the control group were injected with 0.9% sodium chloride solution. Laser Doppler imaging showed that blood flow in the ischemic hindlimb plummeted to ~20% of the normal level after surgery, and gradually recovered to near normal level on day 10 in the treatment group and on day 20 in the control group. Angiogenesis was non-invasively monitored and quantified with 64Cu-NOTA-TRC105 PET on postoperative days 3, 10, 17, and 24. Tracer uptake at 48 h post-injection in the ischemic hindlimb in the treatment group was significantly higher than that of the control group on day 10 (20.5 ± 1.9 %ID/g vs 11.4 ± 1.5 %ID/g), suggesting increased CD105 expression and higher level of angiogenesis upon pravastatin treatment, and gradually decreased to background levels in both groups (4.9 ± 0.8 %ID/g vs 3.4 ± 1.9 %ID/g on day 24). The in vivo PET data correlated well with ex vivo biodistribution studies performed on day 24. Increased CD105 expression on days 3 and 10 following ischemia was further confirmed by immunofluorescence staining. Taken together, our results indicated that 64Cu-NOTA-TRC105 PET is a suitable and non-invasive method to monitor the angiogenesis and therapeutic response in PAD, which can also be utilized for non-invasive evaluation of other pro-angiogenic/anti-angiogenic drugs in other cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Angiogenesis; ischemia; positron emission tomography (PET); peripheral artery disease (PAD); pravastatin; CD105 (endoglin)
Upregulation of tissue factor (TF) expression leads to increased patient morbidity and mortality in many solid tumor types. The goal of this study was to develop a positron emission tomography (PET) tracer for imaging of TF expression in pancreatic cancer.
ALT-836, a chimeric anti-human TF monoclonal antibody, was conjugated to 2-S-(4-isothiocyanatobenzyl)-1, 4, 7-triazacyclononane-1, 4, 7-triacetic acid (p-SCN-Bn-NOTA) and labeled with 64Cu. To compare the TF binding affinity of ALT-836 and NOTA-ALT-836, flow cytometry analysis was performed in three pancreatic cancer cell lines with different expression level of TF (from low to high: PANC-1, ASPC-1, and BXPC-3). PET imaging, biodistribution, blocking, and histology studies were performed on pancreatic tumor-bearing mice to evaluate the ability and specificity of 64Cu-NOTA-ALT-836 to target TF in vivo.
There was no difference in TF binding affinity between ALT-836 and NOTA-ALT-836. 64Cu-labeling was achieved with high yield and specific activity. Serial PET imaging revealed that the uptake of 64Cu-NOTA-ALT-836 in BXPC-3 tumors (high TF expression) was 5.7 ± 0.5, 10.3 ± 0.5, and 16.5 ± 2.6 %ID/g at 4, 24, and 48 h post-injection respectively (n = 4), significantly higher than that in the PANC-1 and ASPC-1 tumors. Biodistribution data as measured by gamma counting were consistent with the PET findings. Blocking experiments and histology further confirmed the TF specificity of 64Cu-NOTA-ALT-836.
Herein we report the first successful PET imaging of TF expression. Persistent and TF-specific uptake of 64Cu-NOTA-ALT-836 was observed in pancreatic cancer models.
Tissue factor (TF); Pancreatic cancer; Positron emission tomography (PET); Monoclonal antibody; 64Cu; ImmunoPET
It has been almost 4 decades since the “war on cancer” was declared. It is now generally believed that personalized medicine is the future for cancer patient management. Possessing unprecedented potential for early detection, accurate diagnosis, and personalized treatment of cancer, nanoparticles have been extensively studied over the last decade. In this review, we will summarize the current state-of-the-art of gold nanoparticles in biomedical applications targeting cancer. Gold nanospheres, nanorods, nanoshells, nanocages, and surface enhanced Raman scattering nanoparticles will be discussed in detail regarding their uses in in vitro assays, ex vivo and in vivo imaging, cancer therapy, and drug delivery. Multifunctionality is the key feature of nanoparticle-based agents. Targeting ligands, imaging labels, therapeutic drugs, and other functionalities can all be integrated to allow for targeted molecular imaging and molecular therapy of cancer. Big strides have been made and many proof-of-principle studies have been successfully performed. The future looks brighter than ever yet many hurdles remain to be conquered. A multifunctional platform based on gold nanoparticles, with multiple receptor targeting, multimodality imaging, and multiple therapeutic entities, holds the promise for a “magic gold bullet” against cancer.
gold nanoparticles; cancer; nanotechnology; optical imaging; nanomedicine; molecular therapy
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), a member of the TNF superfamily, was the first cytokine to be evaluated for cancer biotherapy. However, the clinical use of TNF-α is severely limited by its toxicity. Currently, TNF-α is administered only through locoregional drug delivery systems such as isolated limb perfusion and isolated hepatic perfusion. To reduce the systemic toxicity of TNF-α, various strategies have been explored over the last several decades. This review summarizes current state-of-the-art targeted cancer therapy using TNF-α. Passive targeting, cell-based therapy, gene therapy with inducible or tissue-specific promoters, targeted polymer-DNA complexes, tumor pre-targeting, antibody-TNF-α conjugate, scFv/TNF-α fusion proteins, and peptide/TNF-α fusion proteins have all been investigated to combat cancer. Many of these agents are already in advanced clinical trials. Molecular imaging, which can significantly speed up the drug development process, and nanomedicine, which can integrate both imaging and therapeutic components, has the potential to revolutionize future cancer patient management. Cooperative efforts from scientists within multiple disciplines, as well as close partnerships among many organizations/entities, are needed to quickly translate novel TNF-α-based therapeutics into clinical investigation.
tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α); cancer therapy; fusion protein; gene therapy; TNF superfamily; targeted delivery
A γ-AApeptide-based tracer for positron emission tomography imaging of integrin αvβ3 is reported. Despite its shorter sequence and linear nature, this tracer had comparable integrin αvβ3 binding affinity as the cyclic arginine-glycine-aspartic acid peptide but significantly higher resistance to enzymatic degradation and better stability.
Non-invasive and quantitative imaging of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) expression levels is highly important in cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and patient management. Although various literature reports have investigated the tumor expression levels of VEGFR-2 using imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, targeted ultrasound, etc., accurate evaluation of the dynamic microdistribution of VEGFR-2 in vivo with good spatial and temporal resolution remains a major challenge. In this issue of the American Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, He at al. reported the use of a VEGFR-2 targeted probe for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of VEGFR-2 in two glioma models in rats (i.e. C6 and RG2). The heterogeneity of VEGFR-2 expression was non-invasively imaged with MRI and validated with various in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo experiments. Not only was heterogeneous expression of VEGFR-2 found in different glioma tumors, it was also observed in different regions within the same tumor (e.g. tumor periphery, peri-necrotic area, and tumor interior). This report highlights the complex nature of gliomas, which may offer invaluable insights into tumor heterogeneity and potential clinical management of glioma patients. These patients have dismal clinical outcomes and are in urgent need of better tools to improve brain tumor treatment.
Molecular MRI (mMRI); glioma; tumor angiogenesis; VEGFR-2; molecular imaging
Graphene, with its excellent physical, chemical, and mechanical properties, holds tremendous potential for a wide variety of biomedical applications. As research on graphene-based nanomaterials is still at a nascent stage, due to the very short time span since its initial report in 2004, a focused review on this topic is timely and necessary. In this feature review, we first summarize the results from toxicity studies of graphene and its derivatives. Although literature reports have mixed findings, we emphasize that the key question is not how toxic graphene itself is, but how to modify and functionalize it and its derivatives so that they do not exhibit acute/chronic toxicity, can be cleared from the body over time, and thereby can be best used for biomedical applications. Next, we discuss in detail the exploration of graphene-based nanomaterials for tissue engineering, molecular imaging, and drug/gene delivery applications. The future of graphene-based nanomaterials in biomedicine looks brighter than ever, and it is expected that they will find a wide range of biomedical applications with future research effort and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Graphene; graphene oxide (GO); reduced graphene oxide (rGO); molecular imaging; tissue engineering; drug/gene delivery; positron emission tomography (PET); nanomedicine
The goal of this study was to employ nano-graphene for tumor targeting in an animal tumor model, and quantitatively evaluate the pharmacokinetics and tumor targeting efficacy through positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using 66Ga as the radiolabel. Nano-graphene oxide (GO) sheets with covalently linked, amino group-terminated six-arm branched polyethylene glycol (PEG; 10 kDa) chains were conjugated to NOTA (1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic acid, for 66Ga-labeling) and TRC105 (an antibody that binds to CD105). Flow cytometry analyses, size measurements, and serum stability studies were performed to characterize the GO conjugates before in vivo investigations in 4T1 murine breast tumor-bearing mice, which were further validated by histology. TRC105-conjugated GO was specific for CD105 in cell culture. 66Ga-NOTA-GO-TRC105 and 66Ga-NOTA-GO exhibited excellent stability in complete mouse serum. In 4T1 tumor-bearing mice, these GO conjugates were primarily cleared through the hepatobiliary pathway. 66Ga-NOTA-GO-TRC105 accumulated quickly in the 4T1 tumors and tumor uptake remained stable over time (3.8 ± 0.4, 4.5 ± 0.4, 5.8 ± 0.3, and 4.5 ± 0.4 %ID/g at 0.5, 3, 7, and 24 h post-injection respectively; n = 4). Blocking studies with unconjugated TRC105 confirmed CD105 specificity of 66Ga-NOTA-GO-TRC105, which was corroborated by biodistribution and histology studies. Furthermore, histological examination revealed that targeting of NOTA-GO-TRC105 is tumor vasculature CD105 specific with little extravasation. Successful demonstration of in vivo tumor targeting with GO, along with the versatile chemistry of graphene-based nanomaterials, makes them suitable nanoplatforms for future biomedical research such as cancer theranostics.
Graphene; 66Ga; CD105 (endoglin); positron emission tomography (PET); molecular imaging; tumor angiogenesis
The goal of this study is to employ the HaloTag technology for positron emission tomography (PET), which involves two components: the HaloTag protein (a modified hydrolase which covalently binds to synthetic ligands) and HaloTag ligands (HTLs). 4T1 murine breast cancer cells were stably transfected to express HaloTag protein on the surface (termed as 4T1-HaloTag-ECS, ECS denotes extracellular surface). Two new HTLs were synthesized and termed NOTA-HTL2G-S and NOTA-HTL2G-L (2G indicates second generation, S stands for short, L stands for long, NOTA denotes 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-N,N’N’’-triacetic acid). Microscopy studies confirmed surface expression of HaloTag in 4T1-HaloTag-ECS cells, which specifically bind NOTA-HTL2G-S/L. Uptake of 64Cu-NOTA-HTL2G-L in 4T1-HaloTag-ECS tumors (4.3 ± 0.5, 4.1± 0.2, 4.0 ± 0.2, 2.3 ± 0.1, and 2.2 ± 0.1 %ID/g at 0.5, 3, 6, 18, and 24 h post-injection respectively; n = 4) was significantly higher than that in the 4T1 tumors (3.0 ± 0.3, 3.0± 0.1, 3.0 ± 0.2, 2.0 ± 0.4, and 2.4 ± 0.3 %ID/g at 0.5, 3, 6, 18, and 24 h post-injection respectively; n = 4) at early time points. In comparison, 64Cu-NOTA-HTL2G-S did not demonstrate significant uptake in either 4T1-HaloTag-ECS or 4T1 tumors. Blocking studies and autoradiography of tumor lysates confirmed that 64Cu-NOTA-HTL2G-L binds specifically to HaloTag protein in the 4T1-HaloTag-ECS tumors, corroborated by histology. HaloTag protein-specific targeting and PET imaging in vivo with 64Cu-NOTA-HTL2G-L serves as a proof-of-principle for future non-invasive and sensitive tracking of HaloTag-transfected cells with PET, as well as many other studies of gene/protein/cell function in vivo.
HaloTag; positron emission tomography (PET); reporter gene; 64Cu; cancer; molecular imaging
A multifunctional unimolecular micelle made of a hyperbranched amphiphilic block copolymer was designed, synthesized, and characterized for cancer-targeted drug delivery and non-invasive positron emission tomography (PET) imaging in tumor-bearing mice. The hyperbranched amphiphilic block copolymer, Boltorn® H40-poly(L-glutamate-hydrazone-doxorubicin)-b-poly(ethylene glycol) (i.e., H40-P(LG-Hyd-DOX)-b-PEG), was conjugated with cyclo(Arg-Gly-Asp-D-Phe-Cys) peptides (cRGD, for integrin αvβ3 targeting) and macrocyclic chelators (1,4,7-triazacyclononane-N, N′, N″-triacetic acid [NOTA], for 64Cu-labeling and PET imaging) (i.e., H40-P(LG-Hyd-DOX)-b-PEG-OCH3/cRGD/NOTA, also referred to as H40-DOX-cRGD). The anti-cancer drug, doxorubicin (DOX) was covalently conjugated onto the hydrophobic segments of the amphiphilic block copolymer arms (i.e., PLG) via a pH-labile hydrazone linkage to enable pH-controlled drug release. The unimolecular micelles exhibited a uniform size distribution and pH-sensitive drug release behavior. cRGD-conjugated unimolecular micelles (i.e., H40-DOX-cRGD) exhibited a much higher cellular uptake in U87MG human glioblastoma cells due to integrin αvβ3-mediated endocytosis than non-targeted unimolecular micelles (i.e., H40-DOX), thereby leading to a significantly higher cytotoxicity. In U87MG tumor-bearing mice, H40-DOX-cRGD-64Cu also exhibited a much higher level of tumor accumulation than H40-DOX-64Cu, measured by non-invasive PET imaging and confirmed by biodistribution studies and ex vivo fluorescence imaging. We believe that unimolecular micelles formed by hyperbranched amphiphilic block copolymers that synergistically integrate passive and active tumor-targeting abilities with pH-controlled drug release and PET imaging capabilities provide the basis for future cancer theranostics.
Unimolecular micelles; Drug delivery; Theranostic nanocarriers; Hyperbranched amphiphilic block; copolymer; Positron emission tomography (PET); Cyclic arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (cRGD); peptide
Herein we demonstrate that nano-graphene can be specifically directed to the tumor neovasculature in vivo through targeting of CD105 (i.e. endoglin), a vascular marker for tumor angiogenesis. The covalently functionalized nano-graphene oxide (GO) exhibited excellent stability and target specificity. Pharmacokinetics and tumor targeting efficacy of the GO conjugates were investigated with serial non-invasive positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and biodistribution studies, which were validated by in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo experiments. The incorporation of an active targeting ligand (TRC105, a monoclonal antibody that binds to CD105) led to significantly improved tumor uptake of functionalized GO, which was specific for the neovasculature with little extravasation, warranting future investigation of these GO conjugates for cancer-targeted drug delivery and/or photothermal therapy to enhance therapeutic efficacy. Since poor extravasation is a major hurdle for nanomaterial-based tumor targeting in vivo, this study also establishes CD105 as a promising vascular target for future cancer nanomedicine.
Nano-graphene; tumor angiogenesis; positron emission tomography (PET); CD105 (endoglin); molecular imaging; 64Cu; cancer
CD105 (endoglin) is an independent prognostic marker for poor prognosis in > 10 solid tumor types, including breast cancer. The goal of this study was to develop a CD105-specific agent for both positron emission tomography (PET) and near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging, which can have potential clinical applications in diagnosis and imaged-guided surgery of breast cancer. TRC105, a chimeric anti-CD105 monoclonal antibody, was labeled with both a NIRF dye (i.e. 800CW) and 64Cu to yield 64Cu-NOTA-TRC105-800CW. Flow cytometry analysis revealed no difference in CD105 binding affinity/specificity between TRC105 and NOTA-TRC105-800CW. Serial PET imaging revealed that the 4T1 murine breast tumor uptake of 64Cu-NOTA-TRC105-800CW was 5.2 ± 2.7, 11.0 ± 1.4, and 13.0 ± 0.4 %ID/g at 4, 24, and 48 h post-injection respectively. Tumor uptake as measured by ex vivo NIRF imaging exhibited a good linear correlation with the %ID/g values obtained from PET (R = 0.74). Biodistribution data were consistent with the PET/NIRF findings. Blocking experiments, control studies with dual-labeled cetuximab (an isotype-matched control antibody), and histology confirmed the CD105 specificity of 64Cu-NOTA-TRC105-800CW. Successful PET/NIRF imaging of CD105 expression warrants further investigation and clinical translation of dual-labeled TRC105-based imaging agents.
CD105/endoglin; positron emission tomography (PET); near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF); tumor angiogenesis; TRC105; 64Cu; breast cancer
Atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular events are the leading causes of death in the industrialized world. Atherosclerosis develops insidiously and the initial manifestation is usually sudden cardiac death, stroke, or myocardial infarction. Molecular imaging is a valuable tool to identify the disease at an early stage before fatal manifestations occur. Among the various molecular imaging techniques, this review mainly focuses on positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of atherosclerosis. The targets and pathways that have been investigated to date for PET imaging of atherosclerosis include: glycolysis, cell membrane metabolism (phosphatidylcholine synthesis), integrin αvβ3, low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors (LDLr), natriuretic peptide clearance receptors (NPCRs), fatty acid synthesis, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), macrophages, platelets, etc. Many PET tracers have been investigated clinically for imaging of atherosclerosis. Early diagnosis of atherosclerotic lesions by PET imaging can help to prevent the premature death caused by atherosclerosis, and smooth translation of promising PET tracers into the clinic is critical to the benefit of patients.
Positron emission tomography (PET); atherosclerosis; molecular imaging; vulnerable plaques; cardiovascular diseases.
High tumor microvessel density (MVD) correlates with poor prognosis in multiple solid tumor types. The clinical gold standard for assessing MVD is CD105 immunohistochemistry on paraffin-embedded tumor specimens. The goal of this study was to develop an 89Zr-based positron emission tomography (PET) tracer for non-invasive imaging of CD105 expression.
TRC105, a chimeric anti-CD105 monoclonal antibody, was conjugated to p-isothiocyanatobenzyl-desferrioxamine (Df-Bz-NCS) and labeled with 89Zr. FACS analysis and microscopy studies were performed to compare the CD105 binding affinity of TRC105 and Df-TRC105. PET imaging, biodistribution, blocking, and ex vivo histology studies were performed on 4T1 murine breast tumor-bearing mice to evaluate the pharmacokinetics and tumor targeting efficacy of 89Zr-Df-TRC105. Another chimeric antibody, cetuximab, was used as an isotype-matched control.
FACS analysis of HUVECs revealed no difference in CD105 binding affinity between TRC105 and Df-TRC105, which was further validated by fluorescence microscopy. 89Zr-labeling was achieved with high yield and specific activity. Serial PET imaging revealed that the 4T1 tumor uptake of 89Zr-Df-TRC105 was 6.1 ± 1.2, 14.3 ± 1.2, 12.4 ± 1.5, 7.1 ± 0.9, and 5.2 ± 0.3 %ID/g at 5, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h post-injection respectively (n = 4), higher than all organs starting from 24 h post-injection, which provided excellent tumor contrast. Biodistribution data as measured by gamma counting were consistent with the PET findings. Blocking experiments, control studies with 89Zr-Df-cetuximab, as well as ex vivo histology all confirmed the in vivo target specificity of 89Zr-Df-TRC105.
Herein we report the first successful PET imaging of CD105 expression with 89Zr as the radiolabel. Rapid, persistent, CD105-specific uptake of 89Zr-Df-TRC105 in the 4T1 tumor was observed.
CD105/Endoglin; Positron emission tomography (PET); Tumor angiogenesis; 89Zr; RadioimmunoPET; TRC105
Raman spectroscopy has been explored for various biomedical applications (e.g. cancer diagnosis) because it can provide detailed information on the chemical composition of cells and tissues. For imaging applications, several variations of Raman spectroscopy have been developed to enhance its sensitivity. To date, a wide variety of molecular targets and biological events have been investigated using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)-active nanoparticles. The superb multiplexing capability of SERS-based Raman imaging, already successfully demonstrated in live animals, can be extremely powerful in future research where different agents can be attached to different Raman tags to enable the simultaneous interrogation of multiple biological events. Over the last several years, molecular imaging with SERS-active nanoparticles has advanced significantly and many pivotal proof-of-principle experiments have been successfully carried out. It is expected that SERS-based imaging will continue to be a dynamic research field over the next decade.
Cancer; Molecular imaging; Multiplexed imaging; Nanoparticle; Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)
Angiogenesis is an indispensable process during tumor development. The currently accepted standard method for quantifying tumor angiogenesis is to assess microvessel density (MVD) based on CD105 staining, which is an independent prognostic factor for survival in patients of most solid tumor types. The goal of this study is to evaluate tumor angiogenesis in a mouse model by near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging of CD105 expression.
TRC105, a human/murine chimeric anti-CD105 monoclonal antibody, was conjugated to a NIRF dye (IRDye 800CW; Ex: 778 nm; Em: 806 nm). FACS analysis and microscopy studies were performed to compare the CD105 binding affinity of TRC105 and 800CW-TRC105. In vivo/ex vivo NIRF imaging, blocking studies, and ex vivo histology were performed on 4T1 murine breast tumor-bearing mice to evaluate the ability of 800CW-TRC105 to target tumor angiogenesis. Another chimeric antibody, Cetuximab, was used as an isotype-matched control.
FACS analysis of HUVECs revealed no difference in CD105 binding affinity between TRC105 and 800CW-TRC105, which was further validated by fluorescence microscopy. 800CW conjugation of TRC105 was achieved in excellent yield (> 85%), with an average of 0.4 800CW molecules per TRC105. Serial NIRF imaging after intravenous injection of 800CW-TRC105 revealed that the 4T1 tumor could be clearly visualized as early as 30 minutes post-injection. Quantitative region-of-interest (ROI) analysis showed that the tumor uptake peaked at about 16 h post-injection. Based on ex vivo NIRF imaging at 48 h post-injection, tumor-uptake of 800CW-TRC105 was higher than most organs thus providing excellent tumor contrast. Blocking experiments, control studies with 800CW-Cetuximab and 800CW, as well as ex vivo histology all confirmed the in vivo target specificity of 800CW-TRC105.
This is the first successful NIRF imaging study of CD105 expression in vivo. Fast, prominent, persistent, and CD105-specific uptake of the probe during tumor angiogenesis was observed in mouse models. 800CW-TRC105 may be used in the clinic for imaging tumor angiogenesis within the lesions close to the skin surface, tissues accessible by endoscopy, or during image-guided surgery.
CD105/endoglin; Near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging; Tumor angiogenesis; Monoclonal antibody (mAb); TRC105; Breast cancer
Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) plays an important role in proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and tumor invasion. Histology and in situ hybridization studies have revealed that IGF1R was significantly up-regulated at the protein and mRNA level in many types of cancer. Since measuring IGF1R expression with immunohistochemistry has many limitations, non-invasive imaging of IGF1R can allow for more accurate patient stratification (e.g. selecting the right patient population for IGF1R-targeted therapy) and more effective monitoring of the therapeutic responses in cancer patients. In this review, we will summarize the current status of imaging IGF1R expression in cancer, which includes single-photon emission computed tomography, positron emission tomography, fluorescence, and γ-camera imaging. The four major classes of ligands that have been developed for non-invasive visualization of IGF1R will be discussed: proteins, antibodies, peptides, and affibodies. To date, molecular imaging of IGF1R expression is understudied and more research effort is needed in the future.
Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R); molecular imaging; peptide nucleic acid (PNA); positron emission tomography (PET); single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT); cancer