Candidate. The candidate in this application received training in fluorescence spectroscopy and has over a decade of professional experience in biophysical research in the area of self-assembled nanostructures, mostly in commercial settings. This CDA is requested to provide training in biomedical imaging and cancer biology to support this candidate's research in contrast agents for imaging of cancer. The career goal of this candidate is to translate his technological expertise into clinical imaging methods to assist in diagnostic and intraoperative imaging of cancer, and to become an independent bioimaging researcher. Environment. The University of Arizona has made a strong commitment to research in medical imaging. This CDA will be primarily supported by the Biomedical Engineering Division, with mentors from BME, Arizona Cancer Center and Gynecologic Oncology Division. Research Plan. While optical coherence tomography is a minimally invasive technique with resolution that approaches that obtained with histological sections from biopsy, imaging of large areas of tissues is prohibitively slow. To fully utilize OCT's potential in image guided diagnostics and intervention in cancer there is a need for a complementary macroscopic technique in which large sections of tissue can be inspected quickly to identify suspicious sections that need to be examined in detail. The main goal of this research plan is to test the hypothesis that a single contrast agent can be developed to enable such dual-modality imaging, to aid in detection of early malignant changes in vivo. This research will be organized in three specific aims. Near-infrared targeted contrast agents will be prepared and characterized. A wide-field near-infrared imaging method will be developed to identify suspicious regions and guide optical coherence tomography. The ability of a dual modality system to identify and characterize malignant transformations will be tested in cancer cell lines, animal models of cancer and excised tissues with neoplastic changes. Relevance. Early detection has become a paradigm of cancer treatment. Over 85% of cancers originate in the epithelial tissue and precancerous changes in that tissue are within penetration depth of optical methods. Development of early detection techniques depends on the availability of noninvasive or minimally invasive imaging modalities such as those proposed in this application.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award (K25)
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Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
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Jakowlew, Sonia B
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University of Arizona
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