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Research Fellows Directory

Sofia Pascu

Professor Sofia Pascu MRSC, MA(oxon), PhD, DPhil

Research Fellow

Organisation

University of Bath

Research summary

Molecular imaging is a key area for development worldwide. It provides an interface between clinical and preclinical research. Positron Emission Tomography

(PET) medical imaging evolved in recent years as one of the primary tools for the high resolution diagnosis of cancer and for the monitoring of the effects of therapy. There is great

need for designing probes labelled with PET radioisotopes. Copper-64 (half life 12.7 hrs) facilitates molecular imaging at a remote site far from the cyclotron facility used to generate the radio-copper, and Gallium-68 is now widely generator-available. The development of a suitable molecular environment for the safe and efficient delivery

of Cu-64 or Ga-68 to cancer cells is little understood. To address this clinical need we already synthesised a new range of highly kinetically stable metal radioprobes. These are biocompatible and also fluorescent thus traceable inside living tissues as well as in animals. Stable complexes and carrier molecules (“hosts”) will be next equipped with an ‘address’ (i.e. an understood biological targeting chemical) which will ensure that the imaging drug is delivered selectively to tumours. This will also minimise systemic toxicity and enzymatic degradation. The use of dual PET and fluorescence imaging will allow the imaging of targeted delivery both in vitro and in vivo. We aim to image and ultimately to kill cancer cells. The greater the uptake in the cell's nucleus the more likely it is that cell death will occur. We use functionalised and targeted nanomaterials (e.g. functionalised carbon nanotubes

and nanocapsules) for the stable containment and simultaneous delivery of a large number of imaging drug molecules to target. These nanomedicines will

become a general solution to drug delivery. This project could generate new viable clinical imaging agents and in vivo investigations are ongoing in collaboration with Imperial College Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Hammersmith Hospital (prof Eric Aboagye)

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

New target-specific diagnostic and therapeutic copper-based radiopharmaceuticals

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2010 - Sep 2015

Value: £418,706.10

New target-specific diagnostic and therapeutic copper-based radiopharmaceuticals

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2005 - Sep 2010

Value: £247,354.58

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