Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels, is one of the hallmarks of growing tumours. This fundamental process is an attractive therapeutic target as it is required to ensure that tumour cells have access to sufficient oxygen and nutrients. Several anti-angiogenics have been approved as anti-cancer agents, and many more are being developed. These agents are, however, only efficacious in angiogenic tumours, expensive, may not shrink tumours, and can have serious side effects. Thus, there is an urgent need for imaging biomarkers, to stratify patients so that those with angiogenic tumours can receive anti-angiogenic therapy, and to monitor the effect of treatment on tumours.
The integrin protein αvβ3 plays an important role in regulating angiogenesis and tumour metastasis. We have identified a novel molecule that binds to this protein with high affinity. We are developing radiolabelled versions of the molecule to support the development of new anti-angiogenic therapeutics, and to image angiogenesis in patients using Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET), to help optimise the use of existing anti-angiogenics in patients.
Project Team: Dr Ian Fleming, Prof Matteo Zanda, Monica Pires, Andrea Testa and Dr Dall'angelo
Funding: Knowledge Exchange and Transfer Fund and Chariatable Donations from Roemex