San Diego-based Targeson Inc. has received a $225,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health for its “Molecular Imaging of Macrophage Infiltration in Solid Cancer” program.
This project will explore the use of Targeson’s targeted microspheres as a diagnostic imaging test to detect the infiltration of MHCII macrophages into growing tumors. Non-invasive, real-time imaging of macrophage infiltration into tumors will allow for a powerful assessment of antitumor immune response in animal studies.
Research will be conducted in conjunction with Professor Jack Bui, M.D., Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego.
“The ability to measure the immune response to cancer has been hampered by our inability to visualize immune cell extravasation in vivo,” Bui said. “Targeson's novel technology is based on coupling antibodies specific for tumor-infiltrating macrophages to microspheres that can be detected by ultrasound, thereby enabling us to detect the presence of tumor-killing macrophages inside of tumors. This technology represents a very powerful tool for researchers using animal models in the context of drug development. Our studies may eventually allow oncologists to identify patients who might benefit from immune therapy and moreover, follow the progress of patients treated with immune therapy.”