In early 2015, Prof Ann-Marie Chacko established the Duke-NUS Laboratory for Translational and Molecular Imaging (LTMI) to combine molecular imaging efforts with drug discovery and early drug development. Concurrently, LTMI also serves as a core facility for Duke-NUS researchers, and as a hub for imaging research and technology developments in PET, SPECT, CT and optical imaging, accessible to the public and industry sectors across Singapore and internationally.
By combining unique expertise in probe design, radio-pharmaceutical chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, and in vivo imaging, LTMI is focused on developing and translating novel and quantitative imaging agents to interrogate biomarkers and immune signatures in cancer and infectious disease to lead precision medicine initiatives, including:
- Platform technologies for imaging cancer immuno-oncology (CITI Programme);
- Development of imaging biomarkers for infectious disease (DENV, ZIKV, etc.) as surrogate clinical endpoints in disease management and therapy monitoring;
- Development of “imageable” oncolytic virotherapy for brain cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, etc.
Kimberly A. Kelly, PhD
University of Virginia; Charlottesville, VA
The Kelly Lab’s research focuses on the identification of disease biomarkers, the development of molecularly targeted imaging and therapeutic agents, and understanding the molecular mechanisms of disease.
Proteomic strategies that allow unbiased identification of proteins and their post-transcriptional and -translational modifications are an essential complement to genomic strategies. We have developed a method to couple the power of combinatorial screening technologies such as phage display to identify those ligands.
Molecularly targeted imaging agents play important roles in early detection of disease, appropriate patient treatment stratification, and monitoring therapeutic efficacy. The Kelly laboratory has been involved in all aspects of imaging agent development from target identification, chemistry, animal studies, to clinical translation of our agents.
Targeted Drug Delivery
The ability to specifically target cancer while leaving healthy cells untouched has improved patient outcomes while minimizing toxic side effects and patient discomfort. We are developing targeted cancer therapies with the goals of increasing patient survival while decreasing toxicity.
- Theranostic drug development
- Predictive and quantitative molecular imaging biomarkers to assess tumor response to therapy
- Image-guided tumor detection including but not limited to breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers
Our research interests center around understanding and using molecular recognition (protein-protein, nucleic acid-nucleic acid, and protein-nucleic acid) to distinguish tumor cells from normal cells and to develop practical applications in oncology – diagnostic or therapeutic. Recent work has focused on genetic engineering of antibodies to provide optimal agents for delivery of radionuclides to tumor cells. Monoclonal antibodies specific for human tumor antigens have been re-engineered to reduce immunogenicity (by chimerization or humanization), and engineered fragments with improved pharmacokinetic properties have been produced. Biological therapies based on engineered antibodies are also under investigation, including retargeting T-cells using antibody-T cell receptor fusion proteins, and intracellular expression of single-chain antibodies. New biological probes for imaging are being developed. Antibodies, peptides, and oligonucleotides tagged with positron-emitting isotopes can provide highly specific tools for examining gene expression and function in cells and tissues, and ultimately, patients.