Student research project
With steadily increasing health care expenses, a promising translational imaging application can fulfill the need for a cost-effective and non-invasive diagnostic tool. Employing a targeted drug delivery approach will enable treatment of thrombosis.
This project focuses on the basic and translational research of cancer, inflammation and thrombosis. We design, test and implement novel molecular imaging approaches using state of the art technologies (MRI, ultrasound, CT, PET and 3D FLECT).
Activated platelets have been shown to play an important role in cancer, inflammation and thrombotic diseases.
This project would focus on Glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa, which plays an important role in the aggregation of platelets. GPIIb/IIIa is the most abundant platelet receptor and it undergoes a change in confirmation when activated. For this reason, this molecule has been chosen as the target epitope for molecular imaging. The use of small recombinant antibodies for diagnostic molecular imaging and targeted drug delivery are well established in our lab. We propose to conjugate activated GPIIb/IIIa targeting recombinant antibodies to different contrast agents for their respective imaging modality. These recombinant antibodies can be used for both diagnostic imaging and targeted delivery of pharmacological treatment. Our group has access to a variety of clinically available imaging modalities, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and positron-emission tomography (PET), as well as the latest preclinical scanners, such as new 19-Flourine MRI technology and 3D fluorescence emission computed tomography (FLECT).
This project aims to investigate activated platelet targeted contrast agents for detection of inflammation, cancer and/or thrombosis using molecular imaging, thereby providing a better diagnostic technology. By harnessing the targeting ability of the antibodies, we can then conjugate drugs onto them for side-effect free, targeted drug delivery.
The project is suitable for a Masters, Honours or PhD student and will involve applying various skills and techniques, including cell culture, flow cytometry, molecular biology, PCR, Western blots, animal models and statistics.