1Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States; 2Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States
Non-surgical cancer treatments rely on re-induction of apoptosis to enable tumor regression, and hence early, noninvasive detection of apoptotic enzymes, like caspase is invaluable for therapy response monitoring. We have developed a Gd-based caspase-activatable contrast agent that can self-assemble into nanoparticles and provide signal enhancement at apoptotic sites. This work presents the first in vivo results in a doxorubicin-treated mouse model of cancer, which show significant difference in enhancement in the same tumor before and after treatment. We believe that the improved sensitivity and specificity achieved with our agent will make MRI even more attractive for cancer theranostics.