The main objective and basic concept of our proposal is to improve intra-operative and post-operative targeted surgical probes and new detection systems for surgical intervention of cancer. The goal is the implementation of inter-disciplinary, inter-sector, cross-training of personnel. As a consequence, this will serve to accelerate the development of improved imaging technologies and hybrid fluorescence/radionuclide probes for the surgical intervention of cancer. The hypothesis is that if we can develop a hybrid probe for both targeted image-guided surgery and post-operative molecular radiotherapy, we would be implementing a revolutionary imaging and therapeutic approach for oncology surgeons to help their patients by improving better overall survival and quality of life for the patient. There are four key objectives within this project: 1) synthesis of a near infra-red fluorescence (NIRF)-dye conjugated to a peptide that is targeted towards a tumour associated antigen, 2) deliver a novel clinical optoacoustic handheld camera to detect the fluorescence probe in deep tissue, 3) validate the probe/target combination across the subcellular, cellular, endoscopic and macroscopic levels with state-of-art technologies, and 4) develop the probe further by targeting a radionuclide entity to the fluorescent construct for postoperative radiotherapy.
Surgeons would have a more definitive reference for resection, if the tumour margin can be clearly defined. If this can be achieved, the impact would be (a) reduced recurrence rates in patients by lowering the risk of residual tumour tissue remaining after surgery and as a consequence improve survival, (b) minimised removal of healthy tissues, c) reduced patient morbidity and hospital stay and d) significant health cost benefits.