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In-vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC)




Development Project 2: Imaging of Peri-tumoral Stromal Depletion as a Surrogate Marker for Treatment Efficacy in Pancreatic Cancer, Anirban Maitra, M.D. 

Our purpose is to establish preclinical foundations for in vivo measurement of stromal depletion, with a clear path to clinical translation.  The central hypothesis is that molecular imaging of stromal integrity by quantifying Collagen I (Col1) fibers can identify patients with advanced solid tumors most likely to benefit from stroma-targeted therapies, and detect changes in stroma following these therapies. 
Aim 1. To perform ex vivo Col1 fiber imaging of explanted low-passage human pancreatic cancer xenografts that have received stroma-targeted therapy with nab®-paclitaxel (Abraxane) to relate to in vivo characterization of changes in vascularization and macromolecular transport with MRI.
Aim 2. To perform in vivo "real-time" assessment of Col1 depletion within low-passage human pancreatic cancer xenografts in athymic mice receiving stroma-targeted therapy, using a fiber-optic probe.

The project represents a multi-disciplinary collaboration between Drs. Maitra, Glunde, Li and Pathak that brings together our respective expertise in pancreatic cancer biology and animal models, stromal imaging, MRI and biomedical engineering within the JHU ICMIC.