June 7, 2023
Reston, Virginia—The SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund is excited to announce that Julie Sutcliffe, PhD, professor of internal medicine and biomedical engineering, University of California–Davis, has been selected as the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the 2023 Mars Shot Fund. The grants recognize individuals who have made transformative impact in the field and elevated the value of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.
|Julie Sutcliffe, PhD|
The grant is one of five awarded in the inaugural year of the new SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund, which was established to provide resources that translate visionary nuclear medicine imaging, radiopharmaceutical therapy and data science research or projects into tools or treatments that will help improve the lives of patients.
Sutcliffe’s Mars Shot grant was awarded based on her proposal, “Evaluating the integrin αvβ6-targeted molecular imaging agent [68Ga]Ga DOTA-5G as a diagnostic for lobular breast cancer.”
Invasive lobular breast carcinoma (LBC) is the second most common type of breast cancer and is often difficult to detect noninvasively by imaging such as mammography and 18F-FDG-PET, warranting the need for better molecularly targeted PET imaging agents for detection and monitoring.
“We have identified the integrin αvβ6 as a promising molecular target,” Sutcliffe said. “We designed a peptide, called DOTA-5G, that targets the integrin αvβ6 on tumor cells. We then further developed DOTA-5G into a theranostic pair, [68Ga]Ga DOTA-5G/[177Lu]Lu DOTA-ABM-5G, which is currently being tested in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. We are now proposing to use [68Ga]Ga DOTA-5G in patients with invasive LBC. We hypothesize that the agent will detect lesions, will be safe and well tolerated, and will be more sensitive than 18F-FDG PET.”
“This study will enable patients to receive more effective imaging that will improve their care by detecting disease earlier,” she added. “We therefore expect this molecularly targeted approach to have an immediate and much-needed benefit for this subpopulation of patients.”
Sutcliffe is professor of internal medicine and biomedical engineering, co-director of the Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging, and director of the Radiochemistry Facility at the University of California–Davis. Sutcliffe’s research spans basic science, preclinical development and clinical translation with the ultimate goal of detecting and treating cancer earlier. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Leicester, her master’s in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of London, and her doctorate in medicinal chemistry from King’s College London in England. Sutcliffe is a Fellow of SNMMI and also of the World Molecular Imaging Society and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
About the SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund
The ‘Mars Shot for Nuclear Medicine, Molecular Imaging, and Molecularly Targeted Radiopharmaceutical Therapy’ is a forward-looking glimpse into the future of nuclear medicine. Its goal is to provide resources for the translation of visionary nuclear medicine imaging, radiopharmaceutical therapy, and data science research or projects into tools or treatments helping improve the lives of patients.
About the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to advancing nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, vital elements of precision medicine that allow diagnosis and treatment to be tailored to individual patients in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.
SNMMI’s members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit www.snmmi.org.