$3.2M NIH Grant Supports Development of New Approach to Target ‘Invisible’ Residual Tumors

$3.2M NIH Grant Supports Development of New Approach to Target ‘Invisible’ Residual Tumors
A $3.2-million grant from the National Institutes of Health has been awarded to the collaborative work between Northeastern University’s Spring Lab and Cellaria into a new method of eliminating the microscopic cancerous tumors left behind by standard therapies. The approach uses antibody-photosensitizer molecules that make cancer cells susceptible to light-induced destruction. Researchers will mainly focus on ovarian and pancreatic cancer — whose residual microscopic tumors can spread into the abdomen, attacking other organs. Microscopic clusters of cancer cells missed during cytoreductive surgery (meant to remove the tumor and nearby tissues where the cancer may have spread) often contain resistant cells that escape follow-up chemotherapy and lead to disease recurrence. Currently, there is a lack of imaging tools capable of detecting or monitoring these residual tumors, as well as limited approaches to address them, leaving patients at a higher risk of relapse. Bryan Spring, PhD, Spring Lab’s principal investigator, and colleagues have been working extensively to develop a way to address both of these limitations. In a previous study, they were able to detect, monitor, and eliminate abdominal micrometastases in ovarian cancer mouse models using a tumor-targeted, activatable photoimmunotherapy, integrated with a newly developed microscopic imaging tool. The new photoimmunotherapy uses a compound comprising an antibody that targets EGFR — a cell-surface receptor protein highly present in ovarian cancer cells — combined with a molecule that becomes fluorescent and toxic after being internalized and processed by cells and in the presence of near-infrared light (invisible to the human eye). Since cancer cells overproducing the target surface p
Subscribe or to access all post and page content.