Molecular imaging and targeted drug delivery play an important role toward personalized medicine, which is the future of pre-emptive medicine. Our goal here is to ‘find, fight and follow’ a disease using translatable nanoparticle-based probes. Molecular imaging has emerged as an interdisciplinary area, which shows promises to understand the components, processes, dynamics and therapies of a disease at a molecular level. We explore various nanoprobes for early detection, diagnosis and personalized treatment of diseases, using biomedical imaging modalities such as computed tomographic imaging (CT), photon counting K-edge CT, photoacoustic imaging or optical-based techniques. Over the years we have demonstrated collaboratively that highly sensitive probes can be developed and used with imaging techniques for detection of sparse biological receptors such as angiogenesis, sentinel lymph node and cancer stem cells. Very recently we have also demonstrated that a specific bacterial surface receptor can be targeted and imaged with nanoprobes.
Our recent enquires include development of agents that are completely biodigestible or can be rapidly excreted through body. Imaging of biological systems in the second near-infrared window (NIR-II) can probe tissue at centimeter depths and achieve µm-scale resolution at depths of millimeters. We are developing NIR-II based agents (both small molecule and nanoparticles) with excitation >900nm and emission >1240nm. In a highly ambitious project, recently we have successfully created for the first time a bio-absorbable polymer-graphene derived cardiovascular stent which has been prototyped (3D printed) to accommodate unique vascular blockages for personalized therapy.