Pre-clinical imaging of polymeric nanomedicines for the treatment of cancer

​The development of 'smart' nanomedicines capable of visualising stimuli-responsive delivery of therapeutics continues to provide a promising outlook for the future treatment of cancer. Advances in in vivo molecular imaging technology, such as MRI, PET and optical imaging, have increased our ability to successfully visualise and monitor the delivery and effect of nanomedicines in the body. However, understanding the fate of these nanomaterials in delivering therapeutic agents homogenously across a heterogeneous tumour mass in vivo remains largely unknown.

A recent alternative in vivo imaging technique, optoacoustic imaging (OI), has been shown to reveal important pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic information about nanomedicines1. By combining the high contrast of optical imaging and the high resolution of ultrasound, OI is an emerging technique that surpasses the capabilities of its constituent techniques providing superior deep tissue imaging through sensitive detection of both endogenous and exogenous probes. By utilising OI probes attached to targeted polymeric micelles capable of encapsulating a therapeutic payload, Anna's research has focuses on understanding the efficacy and biological fate of these nanomedicines in vivo as they accumulate in tumour tissue.