Dr. Alexandre Detappe is Instructor in Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Detapp was the guest speaker at a lecture organized by the MGH Gordon Center. Below is his presentation summary.
Ultrasmall nanoparticles, and more specifically silica-based gadolinium nanoparticles (SiGdNP) demonstrated their ability to act as multimodal imaging agent (PET, MRI, CT) and therapeutic agents. These nanoparticles have been originally designed to act as MRI contrast agents and radiation therapy boosters. Validated preclinically in a wide selection of animal models, SiGdNP have demonstrated to be safe, non-toxic, and highly efficient radiosensitizers. These nanoparticles are currently being tested in a Phase II clinical trial to treat brain metastases. In addition, their imaging ability makes them efficient imaging biomarkers.
Dr. Detappe has focused his efforts on developing a novel imaging biomarker for early detection of Multiple Myeloma – a blood cancer – for which it was demonstrated that an early diagnostic could significantly improve the therapeutic outcomes of the patients’ treatments. In this optic, SiGdNPs were conjugated with monoclonal antibodies to improve their specificity and avoid unwanted accumulation. However, for some patients for whom the disease already degraded their kidneys, inorganic MRI contrast agents cannot be used.
To address this challenge, Dr. Detappe and his colleagues developed a novel metal-free MRI contrast agent that offers the same quality of information than usually observed. The design of this novel polymer also allowed the easy conjugation to a large selection of drugs, in order to decrease the usually observed side effects that arise when using free drugs. As a result, we developed a novel targeted platform for multimodal imaging that can also be used as therapeutic.