Special Seminar: Multi-agent optical imaging—Realizing the potential of molecular imaging with optics

Scott Davis, Assistant Professor of Engineering & Norris Cotton Cancer Center Investigator, Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth

Monday, March 16, 2015, 4:00–5:00pm

Room 200, Cummings Hall


Targeting the unique molecular abnormalities of individual tumors is a major focus of efforts to individualize cancer therapy. The ability to quantitatively assess these abnormalities using molecular imaging technologies would enable tracking of treatment response, patient stratification for clinical trials, and tumor-specific guidance for surgical removal of cancer tissue. However, this capability has remained elusive, largely due to the confounding effects of non-specific uptake of the targeted imaging agent, which can mask the molecular interactions of interest. To address this challenge, we have developed a generalized optical imaging approach that accounts for non-specific uptake and thus is capable of estimating molecular activity in tissue. This capability is enabled by imaging the kinetics of two spectrally-distinct fluorescent agents simultaneously, one targeted to the biomarker of interest, and the other a non-targeted counterpart, and analyzing the respective uptake kinetics. Deploying this approach using a volumetric fluorescence tomography imaging technique enabled non-invasive estimation of biomarker concentration in brain tumor models. Additionally, when applied topically to tissue removed during surgical excision of breast tumor models, the dual-agent approach provided very high tumor-to-normal contrast, suggesting that intra-operative specimen staining may help ensure complete tumor removal, and thus reduce repeat surgery rates in breast conserving surgery.

About the Speaker

Scott Davis is an Assistant Professor at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth and a Norris Cotton Cancer Center Investigator. He holds degrees in physics,  mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering. His research aims to develop and assess new molecular imaging technologies to diagnose tissue and guide cancer therapy, and advance light-based therapies. He currently directs a National Cancer Institute-funded research project to develop multi-tracer deep-tissue optical imaging techniques to quantify molecular biomarkers in vivo. He has published 45 peer-reviewed articles covering multi-modal optical imaging, fluorescence spectroscopy and imaging for surgical guidance, and dosimetry of PDT and radiation therapy.

For more information, contact Haley Tucker at haley.tucker@dartmouth.edu.