At the 57th Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) in Salt Lake City, Utah in June 2010, Dr. Baowei Fei received the Young Investigator Award for his research on Image Quantification and Attenuation Correction for Combined MRI/PET from the SNM. Dr. Fei received the 1st place award from the SNM Computer and Instrumentation Council. He and his co-colleagues have developed tools for image registration, classification, segmentation and attenuation correction for the potential use in combined MRI/PET. Other colleagues who contributed to this work include Mr. X. Yang, Dr. J. Nye, Ms. M. Jones, Dr. J. Aarsvold, Ms. N. Raghunath, Dr. C. Meltzer and Dr. J. Votaw.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a promising method for treating several cancers that uses photosensitizers. The photosensitizer accumulates in target tissue and is excited using light, generating reactive oxygen species that induce cell death. To enter the target area PDT drugs need to be lipophilic, however this presents problems: lack of solubility in the physiological conditions experienced en route to the target means that they usually take at least 24 hours to get to the tumour. Baowei Fei, Clemens Burda and co-workers have synthesized a PDT drug complex that significantly decreases the delivery time and enables quantitative monitoring of the process. Polyethylene glycol (PEG; a compound approved for human intravenous applications) is attached to gold nanoparticles functionalized with the PDT drug, silicon phthalocyanine-4. Chains of PEG wrap around the drug allowing the system to disperse in aqueous conditions. Free silicon phthalocyanine-4 takes 1-2 days to accumulate in a tumour site; using the new complex this is reduced to less than two hours in vivo in cancer-bearing mice with the tumour reducing in size within one week of treatment.
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We envision that molecular imaging can detect cancer at the cellular level, can monitor drug distribution in vivo, can guide therapy to the target, and can evaluate efficacy immediately after therapy. Dr. Fei and his team will develop and evaluate multimodality imaging methods (fluorescence imaging, PET and MR imaging) for early detection of therapeutic response in pre-clinical cancer models.
The Georgia Cancer Coalition established the Distinguished Cancer Clinicians and Scientists program as the cornerstone of its research agenda. The goal of the program is to recruit to Georgia leading and nationally renowned cancer clinicians and scientists who are engaged in the most promising areas of cancer research. The selection of the scholars is closely aligned with the National Cancer Institute’s “Extraordinary Opportunities in Cancer Research,” which has identified areas of discovery that hold promise for making significant progress against all cancers. This competitive and prestigious award carries with it a five-year grant payable to Emory University to support Dr. Fei’s research on cancer imaging. – June 15, 2009
For more information about Georgia Cancer Coalition, please visit: http://www.georgiacancer.org
The project is supported by the NIH sponsored Atlanta Clinical and Translational Institute (A-CTSI). (Co-Pls:Baowei Fei and Diego Martin. Co-investigator: John Votaw)
For more information about the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Institute, please visit: http://www.atlantactsi.org
For more information about the University Research Committee (URC), please visit: http://www.urc.emory.edu