Molecular imaging has the capability to provide molecular information about a disease state that can stratify patients according to a molecular signature. This molecular profile can in turn be used to guide therapeutic decisions. This is especially true for diseases such as cancer in which personalized therapies are emerging. Much effort is being placed on developing targeting therapies that utilize a cell homing ligand for drug delivery.
Molecular PET could aid in evaluating which ligand(s) should be employed for targeting the drug for an individual patient. It can also be used to follow the course of treatment and to determine if the cell surface receptor profile is changing during the regimen.
Additionally, molecular imaging agents can be employed to improve detection of metastatic tumors that conventional imaging may not detect. As such, molecular imaging agents are anticipated to complement anatomical imaging in the clinic.
To fulfill the promise of molecular imaging, we are developing peptide-based imaging probes that can assess expression of cancer specific biomarkers. Our current focus is on developing αvβv–specific probes for imaging tumors and fibrotic disease. Several other peptides are in early development for imaging lung cancer progression.