Amolak Singh, MD, (left)
and Raghuraman Kannan, PhD
RTN-Scan: A novel molecular probe for early detection of recurrent and metastatic breast cancer
The global market for molecular imagining and diagnostics is robust with industry wide estimates reaching $8.1 billion by 2017. Additionally, the total North American breast tumor imaging market is worth $925 million with 1.3 million patients diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. More importantly, 450,000 patients die annually due to breast cancer. Many of these deaths are from recurrent breast cancer (RBC). Current breast cancer imaging agents are limited by their inability to detect small tumors and/or their high incidence of false positives. A sensitive and specific imaging technique that can detect breast cancer recurrence and metastasis in time to establish curative therapy is urgently needed.
The principal investigators have developed a receptor-targeted nanoconjugate-Scan (RTN-Scan) that addresses the sensitivity and specificity limitations of the FDA approved SPECT imaging agent Miraluma and PET imaging with F-18, FDG. RTN-Scan is a multifunctional nanoconstruct comprised of a gold nanoparticle chelated with a PET emitting gallium isotope and a Gastrin releasing peptide (GRP). GRP receptors are overexpressed in 71% of patients with primary and metastatic breast cancer. Attachment of a therapeutic radionuclide to the nanoconjugate to selectively irradiate the tumor would potentially create a theranostic platform for the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of breast cancer.