Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Nanotechnology Center, along with collaborators at Cornell University and Hybrid Silica Technologies, have received approval for their first Investigational New Drug Application (IND) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an ultrasmall silica inorganic nanoparticle platform for targeted molecular imaging of cancer, which may be useful for cancer treatment in the future
Center researchers are about to launch their first-in-human clinical trial in melanoma patients using this first-of-its-kind inorganic nanoparticle to be approved as a drug. "This is a very exciting and important first step for this new particle technology that we hope will ultimately lead to significant improvements in patient outcomes and prognoses for a number of different cancers," said Michelle Bradbury, MD, PhD, a clinician-scientist on Memorial Sloan-Kettering's Neuroradiology Service and an assistant professor of radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College, who is the lead investigator of the study, along with Snehal Patel, MD, a surgeon on Memorial Sloan-Kettering's Head and Neck Service, who is a co-principal investigator.
Cornell dots, or C dots, were initially developed as optical probes at Cornell University, Ithaca, by Ulrich Wiesner, PhD, a professor of materials science and engineering who, along with Hybrid Silica Technologies, Inc., the supplier of C dots, has spent the past eight years precisely engineering these particles. C dots were subsequently modified at Memorial Sloan-Kettering for use in PET imaging. C dots are tiny silica spheres that contain dye that glows three times more brightly than simple free dyes when excited by light of a specific wavelength. C dots can "light up" cancer cells, and act as tumor tracers for tracking the movement of cells and assisting in the optical diagnosis of tumors near the skin surface. The attachment of a radioactive label produces a new generation of multimodal (PET-optical) particle probes that additionally enable deeper detection, imaging, and monitoring of drug delivery using three-dimensional PET techniques.