Our group is interested in understanding how molecular changes in tumours are manifested in their microenvironment, and whether such changes can be monitored non-invasively to guide treatment strategies. We therefore use molecular techniques in a complementary fashion with non-invasive imaging (positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)) to study clinically relevant tumour models from the bottom up and top down. These studies are done through the core PET imaging program at the BCC and the MRI program at UBC.
Present projects in the group include a strong collaboration with the Gates group (SFU) to develop novel nanoparticles made of soft (e.g. lipids or proteins) that incorporate gold or iron oxide. The soft materials will store drug and protect it until needed. The metallic component will be used with external sources of energy to break down the lipid or protein matrix and subsequently release the drug. Our group is currently working with Scientists at TRIUMF to use exotic radiation beams for this purpose. In a separate project, we are using our imaging technologies and collaborating with physicists and theoretical mathematicians (SFU and UBC) to develop numeric models that describe the forces and energies required for cell movement and transport of particles within the cytosol.