Boston – July 24, 2008 – Aristar­chos Papa­gian­naros, Ph.D., post­doc­toral stu­dent at the Center for Phar­ma­ceu­tical Biotech­nology and Nanomed­i­cine at North­eastern University’s Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences, received an award during the Con­trolled Release Society’s annual meeting in New York. Out of more than 700 entries in the High­lights of Stu­dent Posters com­pe­ti­tion, Papa­gian­naros and his col­leagues were one of 10 teams chosen to give a pre­sen­ta­tion about their poster for which they received third prize and a $1,000 cash award.

The poster, enti­tled “In vivo whole body imaging with a new lipid core micelle-​​based near infrared imaging agent,” details the method of tumor detec­tion using infrared imaging that they are exploring in the lab. Using mice, the research team is looking to develop effec­tive non-​​invasive near infrared imaging tech­niques that will show, in vivo, where a tumor is located in the body.

Papa­gian­naros and his col­leagues set out to create a con­trast agent that would effec­tively target tumor cells with a high degree of pre­ci­sion. Using quantum dots, flu­o­res­cent nanocrys­tals made of semi­con­ductor mate­rials, and enveloping them with bio­com­pat­ible lipids, they cre­ated quantum dot micel­lular con­trast agents. When this agent is injected into a mouse, it gives off a flu­o­res­cence that indi­cates where the tumor is in the body.

The con­trast agent led to the fast iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and quan­tifi­ca­tion of the tumor volume, taking less than an hour with half the dosage of cur­rent con­trast agents avail­able com­mer­cially. In addi­tion, the con­trast agent accu­mu­la­tion at the site of the tumor was 2.5 times higher at hone hour that the com­mer­cial form.

They also mod­i­fied the con­trast agent with anti­cancer anti­bodies, which actively target cancer cells. The anti­body, 2C5, detects the pres­ence of the nucle­o­somes of cancer cells, an inte­gral part of cell repli­ca­tion, and helps to sup­press tumor growth. The antibody-​​modified quantum dot micelles that accu­mu­lated at the area where the tumor was growing was 5x more than cur­rent non-​​anticancer anti­body tar­geted agents.

This simple yet novel research model has the poten­tial for appli­ca­tions across dif­ferent forms of cancer,” said Papa­gian­naros, who has been studying at North­eastern for a year and a half. “Using agents that could iden­tify cancer cell clus­ters early in the process, when they are nor­mally too small to be detected, could have enor­mous implications.”

For more infor­ma­tion about this research, please con­tact Jenny Eriksen at j.​eriksen@​neu.​edu or via phone at (6107) 373‑2802.

About North­eastern

Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world.The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divisions.For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.