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Last Updated: 10/28/16

University of Missouri

Center for Single Photo-Emitting Cancer Imaging Agents

Wynn Volkert, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
University of Missouri

The overall goal of the Center for Single Photon-Emitting Cancer Imaging Agents at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) is to foster interdisciplinary research to enable development of novel radiolabeled molecular imaging agents capable of selective in vivo uptake and retention in cancer cells. The Research Components and Development Projects supported by this grant are primarily focused on identification of single-photon emitting, site-directed in vivo targeting biomolecular-conjugates directed to cell surface receptors, antigens and angiogenesis markers with high specificity. Many of the bioconjugates developed in this ICMIC are designed to allow corresponding analogues labeled with particle-emitting radionuclides to be produced for potential radiotherapeutic applications. Molecular biology and biochemical techniques form the primary approach for the design and generation of new cancer targeting vectors, including in vivo phage display, combinatorial chemistry/biochemistry, and SPPS.

The In vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC) grant will provide essential support to maintain current and catalyze expansion of research teams which are composed of scientists that combine expertise in molecular biology, chemistry, radiopharmaceutical chemistry, comparative oncology, pharmacology, tumor biology and nuclear imaging. The major thrust of the research that will be conducted in the ICMIC will involve the development of 99mTc-, 111In-and 123I-labeled SPECT imaging agents. The radiolabeled bioconjugates to be designed and studied will selectively bind with high affinity to a variety of cancers, including breast, pancreatic, melanoma, lymphoma, prostate and lung cancers. Specialized Resources (Cores) supported by the ICMIC provide critical infrastructure and expertise to support cross-disciplinary research activities conducted in the Research Components and the Development Projects.

The ICMIC will facilitate expansion and enhance the scope and quality of radiopharmaceutical sciences research related to development of novel, highly specific cancer targeting imaging agents. The scientific advances made in this program will foster new interdisciplinary research programs with other investigators at both this and extramural institutions, including other ICMICs and Pre-ICMICs.