Molecular imaging techniques, including positron emission tomography (PET) and single photo emission computed tomography (SPECT), provide information about the presence of specific drug targets on cancer cells. PET is a robust and highly sensitive imaging method that allows for the characterization of cancers via real‐time tracking of radioactive compounds that bind to tumour‐specific “markers” (or, receptors). By facilitating the non-invasive assessment of various tumour sites, PET imaging aids physicians/scientists in the diagnosis of cancers, and in the confirmation that the drug target is present at the tumour sites. In the context of personalized medicine, new PET agents that specifically bind to proteins found in cancer cells are needed in order to develop targeted cancer imaging and therapies in patients. We are developing and optimizing novel peptides and small molecules to target these proteins in cancer cells. In addition, we also work in close collaboration with the CDRD to develop new radiopharmaceuticals by using new antibodies. New labeling technologies make routine high yield production of 18F-labeled peptides feasible, we are also working on new radiolabeling methods for radiopharmaceuticals. We are particularly interested in PET imaging with 18F- and 68Ga-labeled agents for prostate cancer using novel prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) and bombesin derivatives, somatostatine receptor imaging of neuroendocrine tumors, melanoma with labeled alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (aMSH) peptide derivatives; breast cancer by targeting neuropeptide Y1 receptor, Carbonic anhydrase IX expression in colorectal cancers and pancreatic cancer PET imaging with 89Zr-labeled anti-podocalyxin antibodies.
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