UCSD receives $6.7M for immune cell imaging studies

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have received two grants totaling $6.7 million from the National Institutes of Health to develop technology to image macrophages in tumors.

Called TAM-Sense, the technology works by feeding macrophages tiny drops of a dye that can be detected by MRI, UCSD said. A team led by Eric Ahrens, PhD, will test the technology in patients with recurrent head and neck tumors in a phase I trial, as well as adapt the technology to be used along with PET to enable whole-body imaging.

Macrophages are involved in the body’s normal inflammatory responses but also make up a significant portion of solid tumors. The density of macrophages in a tumor can affect how it responds to treatment, so the ability to quantify them noninvasively could help doctors decide which therapies will be most effective, UCSD noted.

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