Molecular imaging of cancer predictors using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers better and improved understanding of various cancers, and drug activity during preclinical and clinical treatments. However, one of the major barriers in using MRI in evaluating specific disease predictors for diagnosis and monitoring drug effects is the lack of highly sensitive and specific imaging agents capable of showing the difference between normal tissue and tumors.
The researchers developed a new imaging agent they named ProCA1.GRPR, and demonstrated that it leads to strong tumor penetration and is capable of targeting the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) expressed on the surface of diseased cells, including prostate, cervical and lung cancer.
In addition to its strong binding affinity for GRPR, ProCA1.GRPR has high relaxivity and strong Gd3+ selectivity over physiological metal ions.
ProCA1.GRPR enables in vivo detection of GRPR expression and spatial distribution in both PC3 and H441 tumors in mice using MRI. ProCA1.GRPR is expected to have important preclinical and clinical implications for the early detection of cancer and for monitoring treatment effects.