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1.  Development of NGR peptide-based agents for tumor imaging 
Molecular imaging allows direct visualization of targets and characterization of cellular pathways, as long as a high signal/background ratio can be achieved, which requires a sufficient amount of probes to accumulate in the imaging region. The Asn-Gly-Arg (NGR) tripeptide selected by phage display can specifically target tumor vasculature. Recognizing the aminopeptidase N (APN or CD13) receptor on the membrane of tumor cells, the peptide can be further internalized into cytoplasma by the endosomal pathway. Hence NGR can serve as an ideal candidate for tumor imaging, once it is conjugated with fluorescent or radiolabeled imaging probes. Herein, we highlight some recent developments of NGR peptide based imaging of tumors. Although still in the preliminary stage, some NGR probes have shown potential as promising agents in future clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3477716  PMID: 23133793
Asparagine-glycine-arginine (NGR); arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD); isoaspartate-glycine-arginine (isoDGR); cancer; imaging; tumor angiogenesis; vasculature; aminopeptidase N (APN/CD13)

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