Imaging is pivotal in both basic sciences and clinical research. The Translational Imaging Programme (TIP), part of the Radiological Sciences Academic Clinical Programme (ACPR), provides and develops state-of-the-art preclinical imaging platforms for physiological/functional imaging, to translate scientific discoveries from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside. In TIP, we provide advice on the preclinical methods and conduct multi-disciplinary clinical studies and imaging trials, together with our academic partners from other ACPs and institutions, with the long-term aim of improving healthcare. Based in NCCS, most of our work in related to oncology. Over the past two years, we have paid particular attention to cancer immunotherapy imaging.
The rapidly advancing field of cancer immunotherapy is currently limited by the scarcity of non-invasive imaging technologies capable of monitoring the presence of CD8+ T cells and otherimmune cell subsets. Although cancer immunotherapy can produce dramatic responses, only a minority of patients respond to treatment. Reliable response biomarkers are needed to identify responders, and conventional imaging modalities, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST), have not proved adequate. We therefore embarked on a preclinical study in 2016 using a novel agent as a vehicle to non-invasively image tumour T cell infiltration in an established murine model. We have used it both in the context of a contrast agent in MRI and a radionulide-tagged probe in positron emission tomography (PET). This is an ongoing intra- and interinstitutional collaborative effort involving the Department of Oncologic Imaging and Medical Oncology in NCCS, the Laboratory of Translational and Molecular Imaging (LTMI) in Duke-NUS, and the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN). Non-invasive imaging of T cells is novel and relevant in the era of cancer immunotherapy and may underpin future clinical trials in oncology where rational combinatorial approaches alongside immunotherapeutic strategies are sought.
OUR RECENT AND CURRENT WORK AS PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS AND IN COLLABORATION WITH PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS IN OTHER ACPS AND EXTERNAL INSTITUTIONS IN BOTH PRE-CLINICAL AND CLINICAL STUDIES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
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