Diagnosis and therapy of inflammatory diseases using molecular imaging

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
1
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Xiaowei Wang xiaowei.wang@baker.edu.au
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Karlheinz Peter

Summary The Peter and Wang group focuses on basic and translational research covering a wide variety of themes, including cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity and cancer.

Project Details

The Peter and Wang group focuses on basic and translational research covering a wide variety of themes, including cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity and cancer. We study fundamental disease mechanisms in order to define the key cells and molecules which contribute to the development or outcome of disease. Using this information, we then design, test and implement novel molecular imaging approaches using state of the art technologies (magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, computed tomography, positron-emission tomography and 3D fluorescence emission computed tomography). We focus on novel therapeutic approaches, such as biological therapies targeting immune cells; and theranostics, which combine both therapeutics and diagnostics into a single platform. 

Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, are major causes of death and disability in Australia and worldwide. These events are caused by chronic inflammation, atherosclerosis and acute thrombosis. 

The use of small recombinant antibodies for diagnostic molecular imaging and targeted drug delivery are well established in our lab. This project would focus on the Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 (VCAM-1), which is an endothelial surface molecule that is most strongly and specifically upregulated during inflammation. For this reason, this molecule has been chosen as an additional target epitope for molecular imaging of inflammation. We propose to conjugate VCAM-1 targeting recombinant antibodies to different contrast agents for their respective imaging modality. We would use these recombinant antibodies for diagnostic imaging and targeted delivery of pharmacological treatment. Our group has access to a variety of clinically available imaging modalities, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and positron-emission tomography (PET), as well as latest preclinical scanners, such as new 19-Flourine MRI technology and 3D fluorescence emission computed tomography (FLECT).

Aims: This project aims to investigate whether VCAM-1 targeted contrast agents will enhance inflamed vessels using molecular imaging, thereby providing a better diagnostic technology. By harnessing the targeting ability of the antibodies, we can then conjugate drugs onto these antibodies for side-effect free, targeted drug delivery.

Significance: With steadily increasing health care expenses, a promising translational imaging application can fulfil the need for a cost-effective and non-invasive diagnostic tool. Employing a targeted drug delivery approach will enable treatment of inflammation that may prevent downstream catastrophic events of heart attacks and strokes. 




Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


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