Apoptosis imaging: anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry.
ABSTRACT There is a rapid expansion in the number of new anti-cancer drugs with remarkably different mechanisms of action that can augment traditional chemotherapy. As these agents are often used in combination with traditional chemotherapy testing the effects of these novel agents has proven difficult requiring large sample sizes to detect relatively small differences in patient survival. Despite the wide variety of mechanisms, most new drugs are thought to ultimately induce apoptosis of tumor cells or their supportive vasculature. Imaging agents that can non-invasively monitor apoptosis in response to these new drugs could therefore help streamline the drug development process. They may also help guide oncologists to identify those patients that could best benefit from a given therapeutic regimen, dose, or duration of drug. In this article we will outline the existing imaging agents and modalities that are currently undergoing clinical testing and those that could be rapidly translated into humans.
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ABSTRACT: Metabolic biotinylation of intracellular and secreted proteins as well as surface receptors in mammalian cells provides a versatile way to monitor gene expression; to purify and target viral vectors; to monitor cell and tumor distribution in real time in vivo; to label cells for isolation; and to tag proteins for purification, localization, and trafficking. Here, we show that metabolic biotinylation of proteins fused to the bacterial biotin acceptor peptides (BAP) varies among different mammalian cell types and can be enhanced by over 10-fold upon overexpression of the bacterial biotin ligase directed to the same cellular compartment as the fusion protein. We also show that in vivo imaging of metabolically biotinylated cell surface receptors using streptavidin conjugates is significantly enhanced upon coexpression of bacterial biotin ligase in the secretory pathway. These findings have practical applications in designing more efficient targeting and imaging strategies.Analytical Chemistry 02/2011; 83(3):994-9. DOI:10.1021/ac102758m · 5.83 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Noninvasive detection and in vivo imaging of apoptosis plays a critical role in the development of therapeutics in many different fields including cancer. We have developed an apoptosis biosensor by fusing green fluorescent protein (GFP) to the N-terminus of the naturally secreted Gaussia luciferase separated by a caspase-3 cleavage peptide consisting of aspartic acid (D), glutamic acid (E), valine (V), and aspartic acid (D) or DEVD. We showed that this fusion is retained in the cytoplasm of cells in an inactive form. Upon apoptosis, the DEVD peptide is cleaved in response to caspase-3 activation, freeing ssGluc, which can now enter the secretory pathway where it is folded properly and is released from the cells and can be detected in the conditioned medium in culture or in blood of live animals ex vivo over time. Because Gluc is secreted from cells via conventional pathway through the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi and vesicles, we showed that the presence of Gluc in these compartments in response to apoptosis can be visualized in vivo using bioluminescence imaging. This reporter provides a valuable tool for imaging and real-time monitoring of apoptosis and is compatible with high-throughput functional screening application in cultured cells and animal models.Molecular Therapy 02/2011; 19(6):1090-6. DOI:10.1038/mt.2011.17 · 6.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In vivo imaging using Annexin A5-based radioligands is a powerful technique for visualizing massive cell death, but has been less successful in monitoring the modest cell death typically seen in solid tumors after chemotherapy. Here we combined dynamic positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using Annexin A5 with a serum-based apoptosis marker, for improved sensitivity and specificity in assessment of chemotherapy-induced cell death in a solid tumor model. Modest cell death was induced by doxorubicin in a mouse xenograft model with human FaDu head and neck cancer cells. PET imaging was based on (11)C-labeled Sel-tagged Annexin A5 ([(11)C]-AnxA5-ST) and a size-matched control. 2-deoxy-2-[(18)F]fluoro-D-glucose ([(18)F]-FDG) was utilized as a tracer of tissue metabolism. Serum biomarkers for cell death were ccK18 and K18 (M30 Apoptosense® and M65). Apoptosis in tissue sections was verified ex vivo for validation. Both PET imaging using [(11)C]-AnxA5-ST and serum ccK18/K18 levels revealed treatment-induced cell death, with ccK18 displaying the highest detection sensitivity. [(18)F]-FDG uptake was not affected by this treatment in this tumor model. [(11)C]-AnxA5-ST gave robust imaging readouts at one hour and its short half-life made it possible to perform paired scans in the same animal in one imaging session. The combined use of dynamic PET with [(11)C]-AnxA5-ST, showing specific increases in tumor binding potential upon therapy, with ccK18/K18 serum measurements, as highly sensitive markers for cell death, enabled effective assessment of modest therapy-induced cell death in this mouse xenograft model of solid human tumors.PLoS ONE 08/2012; 7(8):e42151. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0042151 · 3.53 Impact Factor