Zhonglin Liu, PhD, has been awarded an NIH/NCI Clinical and Translational Exploratory/Developmental Studies Grant (R21) of $426,389 for his research project entitled “Novel molecular probes for imaging colorectal cancer.” Dr. Liu will be collaborating with Dr. Brian Gray (Co-PI) at Molecular Targeting Technologies, Inc. (MTTI). The goal of this R21 project is to develop a new family of colorectal cancer (CRC)-targeting probes for fluorescence colonoscopy and SPECT imaging using a small peptide called TCP-1.
The proposed studies are highly significant because the TCP-1 molecular imaging probes may improve the sensitivity and accuracy in the detection of neoplasia in the colon. By using 99mTc-labeled TCP-1 (99mTc-TCP-1) to guide the search for high-risk regions of the colon prior to endoscopic examination and biopsy, there is great potential for clinical translation. Dr. Liu will lead his research team to validate the TCP-1 probes using innovative murine endoscopic methods and high-resolution SPECT imaging techniques. If successful, this project will likely have a high impact on the field of colorectal cancer.