Summary Page: Administrative Supplement Request to Promote Diversity in
Health-Related Research (R15CA260420)
Request: We are seeking an administrative supplement to promote diversity in health-related research for
grant number R15CA260420. This funding would support Mr. Cameron Keene, a 3rd year Biomedical
Sciences major at RIT.
Qualifications: Cameron qualifies for this supplement as a member of the deaf/hard of hearing
Overview of Cameron's goals: This is a collaborative R15 grant and Cameron is working in Dr. Ferran's
laboratory at RIT. This research group is responsible for the research proposed in the second aim of the
grant; therefore Cameron's efforts will focus on the in vitro work underlined in the grant abstract below.
As Cameron gains expertise he will help the next generation of students working on this project in the lab,
therefore his trainees will also contribute to this work.
Grant Abstract: The goal of this proposal is to test the hypothesis that small, peptide-based molecularly
targeted probes containing a near infrared (NIR) dye and a photosensitizer (PS) dye will be effective for
fluorescence imaging and photodynamic therapy (PDT) of breast cancer (BrCa). This novel treatment
method will give patients access to an unprecedented therapy option, without the burden of side effects
from traditional BrCa therapy. In particular, the application to fluorescence-guided lumpectomy
combined with PDT in the same operation is envisioned as a remedy for the current epidemic of re-
operation as it will provide a means of effectively treating residual BrCa cells in the margins. The strategy
relies on a targeting deca-peptide, 18-4, reported to be an effective targeting agent for the keratin
receptor, KRT1, a biomarker that is independent of hormone expression in BrCa cells. Students in our labs
have developed a synthesis of 18-4 by a solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) and have merged that with
a modular method we developed for the synthesis of BrCa-targeted molecular imaging agents (TMIAs).
This method will provide analogous molecularly targeted photosensitizer (MTPS) probes for PDT and dual
TMIA-MTPS probes for guiding surgery and PDT. Students at RIT will use confocal fluorescence
microscopy (CFM) to evaluate the affinity of the 18-4-based TMIAs and dual TMIA-MTPS probes to two
triple negative BrCa cell lines, MDA-MB-231 and EMT6, utilizing non-cancerous MCF10A as a control. The
in vitro efficacy of PDT in the same cell lines will next be investigated using a single MTPS probe. To
ensure that single MTPS and dual TMIA-MTPS probes are equally effective, PDT will be investigated in
vitro in the MDA-MB-231 and EMT6 cells lines, using a laser supplied by our collaborator at the U of R.
The mechanism of cell death will be studied using CFM and apoptosis assays. The strategy includes
testing the binding affinity of the single and dual probes to EMT6 tumors in mice by in vivo NIR imaging,
then testing efficacy in PDT experiments after systemic injection of the targeted dual TMIA-MTPS probe.
Therapy will be monitored by tumor dimensions and stereo-fluorescence microscopy to verify efficacy of
targeted and untargeted probes, with and without PDT. The combined in vitro and in vivo experiments
will provide an effective strategy to develop single and dual probes for the PDT of BrCa. A key aspect of
this proposal is the participation of three undergraduates from RIT in each year, one of whom will
participate in the in vivo testing at the U of R, one in synthesis and one in the in vitro analysis at RIT. The
collaboration highlights expertise in synthesis, cell biology, and confocal microscopy at RIT, and in cancer
imaging and photodynamic therapy at the U of R. These combine to provide a vibrant learning
environment in cancer research for undergraduates, with the achievable goal of revolutionizing
treatment of BrCa by developing small, peptide-based TMIA, MTPS, and dual TMIA-MTPS probes to
transform BrCa therapy by the use of molecularly targeted fluorescence- guided PDT and provide a
breakthrough in the treatment and cure for BrCa patients.