May 10, 2016
The combined strengths of the Hammond and Belcher Labs have converged on a new method for the early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer. The double-barreled results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compare the performances of four second-window near-infrared (NIR-II) probes under consideration for previously unexplored applications in biomedical imaging, and demonstrate how the most successful of these probes, a layered nanoparticle with fluorescent capability, was able to accurately pinpoint the location of both primary and metastatic tumors in a mouse model of ovarian cancer with unprecedented precision. The proof of concept experiments combine the Hammond Lab’s signature on-demand layer-by-layer drug delivery system with the Belcher Lab’s development of high-resolution NIR-II fluorescent imaging tools and, with intravital imaging technology in the KI’s Microscopy Core Facility, lay the groundwork for a “theranostic” platform with both therapeutic and diagnostic capacity. An early image from this study was also selected as a 2016 Image Awards winner and can be seen in the KI Public Galleries. The work was supported in part by the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program through the Kathy and Curt Marble Cancer Research Fund.