Imaging Biomarkers for Nanotherapeutics

Poor drug accumulation at tumor sites negatively affects the efficacy of many anti-cancer therapeutics. Development of non-invasive strategies that can effectively monitor drug biodistribution is important, especially given the increasing number and complexity of nanotherapeutic agents in clinical development. The use of positron emission tomography in conjunction with a radiolabeled drug delivery system has the potential to achieve accelerated clinical translation. Merrimack Pharmaceuticals focuses on the development of nanotherapeutic platforms for cancer therapy and imaging. Their liposome-based chemotherapeutics have shown clinical benefit in breast and pancreatic cancer patients. However, the overall efficacy of these compounds has been limited due to high inter-patient response variability. Merrimack and our research group believe that the development of robust imaging-based methods to quantify the drug distribution in patients can positively affect the therapeutic outcome as it allows for investigation of patient-specific drug deposition and its potential for prediction of treatment response.

Manuela Ventura
Faculty Supervisor: 
David Jaffray