Magnetic resonance molecular imaging strategies have been explored by specifically targeting? oncogenes such as HER-2 (c-erbB-2, Neu), bcl-2/bcl-xL, protein kinase A, and the transferrin receptor? gene. The human transferrin receptor (hTfR) has been used as a molecular target to direct therapeutic? agents to tumor cells and to shuttle drugs across the blood-brain barrier. Expression and regulation of? hTfR'receptors can be visualized by NMR imaging by studying the receptors with a sterically protecting? iron-containing magnetic hTfR probe. A cationic immunoliposome system which covalently conjugates? the single-chain antibody variable region fragment (scFv) against the hTfR has been used to improve? p53 tumor suppressor gene therapy employed in the human breast cancer metastasis model. This? scFv-immunolipdsome can systematically deliver the complexed gene to tumors in vivo. In comparison? to a whole antibody or transferrin molecule, scFv has a much smaller size, enabling it to penetrate more? easily through solid tumors. In this study, we will utilize the TfR scFv-immunoliposome along with MR? contrast agents to improve contrast agent-tumor affinity and specificity. This will enhance MR? diagnostic imaging capabilities, particularly those needed for early detection.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Johns Hopkins University
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