Vascular and tumor imaging using targeted viral nanoparticles

M. Manchester
University of California, San Diego, US

Summary:

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S, and chemotherapy for cancer often has severe side effects. Localized delivery of therapeutics to the tumor promises to target tumors with a minimum of side effects. The identification of specific ligands to target tumors opens the door for development of new materials that can localize and image early molecular events in cancer. Nanotechnology now provides a way to combine the targeting potential of specific ligands with the imaging sensitivity of contrast agents and antitumor compounds into a combination diagnostic and therapeutic tool. A variety of nanoparticle platforms will be needed for targeting different disease processes. Our program focuses on virus-based nanoparticles (VNPs), using a highly multidisciplinary approach incorporating chemistry, structural biology, molecular virology, immunology, and in vivo tumor models. Surface chemistries modify VNPs to target tumors and localize formulations within the tumor parenchyma. Our studies examine the fundamental relationship between chemotherapeutic efficacy, and the mechanisms of targeted VNP internalization and delivery to cells in the tumor microenvironment.