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A Partnership Training Program in Breast Cancer Research Using Molecular Imaging Techniques

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Annual rept. 1 Jul 2006-30 Jun 2007

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In the second year five faculty members and a research assistant were further trained in molecular imaging of breast cancer through seminars and workshops and are currently conducting two research projects with the faculty at Johns Hopkins University. We have perfected the technique of constructing a dual imaging probe for MRI and fluorescent imaging by linkage of near-infrared fluorescently labeled transferring on the surface of contrast agent encapsulated cationic liposomes. The dual probe not only enhances the tumor MR image contrast but is also an excellent probe for optical imaging. We have established three breast cancer tumor models including subcutaneous xenografts mammary gland xenografts and lung metastasis in nude mice using luciferase-expressing MDA-MB-231-luc cells. Metastatic lesion of 0.3-0.5 mm in diameter could be clearly detected by MRI or optical imaging in vivo. We have found that when MCF-7 cells are co-cultured with activated THP-1 macrophages they caused an increase in PTEN expression. MIF expression is dramatically induced in MCF-7 cells when they are co-cultured with macrophages. We have published three papers and another paper is in press. We have given six presentations in conferences. We received two new grants and five other grant applications are pending. We have recruited a new faulty member to join the project. A research assistant supported by this grant received her undergraduate degree in Biology at the Howard University with summa cum laude. The Molecular Imaging Lab continuously served as a synergic center on campus for promoting molecular imaging research. New research collaborations were established among the faculty at Howard as well as with the external scientists from Georgetown University and NIH.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Optics

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