Nanosized and Targeting Agents

The development of efficient procedure for Molecular Imaging needs high affinity and sensitivity probes. This topic is the main activity for the development of innovative dignostics.

  • The fibrin target

    We are working on a system made of a peptide and four Gd complexes and trying to optimize both the binding affinity and the contrast it induces in the MRI images. A number of diseases inveriably show the presence of fibrin deposits (tumours, plaques, trombi ...). The development of an efficient system for spotting these deposits could represent a "one-stop-shop-agent" that could be used for different applications.

  • The XIII factor target

    A previous work permitted us to identify a peptide which is an optimal substrate for such enzime, and give rise to its fast inclusion in the matrix of a forming trombus. This peptide could be functionalized with one or more units of Gd-chelate in order to obtain a forming-trombus reporter.

  • The -SH target

    The easy oxidation of the thiolic function represent an excellent indicator of the redox state of the biological microenvironment. Furthermore, the presence of exposed SH groups could be the result of mutations and subsequent conformational variations associated to important diseases (PPL/multiple sclerosis). For these reasons we are optimizing a probe able to specifically bind to free thiols. their quantitation could have interesting diagnostic implications.

  • The MMPs target

    The Matrix Metallo Proteases are enzimes that are present in a number of tissutal remodeling situations and represent important indicators of diseases (tumours, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerotic plaques). The probe is represented by insoluble particles that could be solubilized in presence of the enzime; by this way they transform from a T2* into a T1 agent. The insolubility is due to the presence of a lipophilic chain that is separated from the Gd complex by a suitable spacer that could be cleaved by the MMPs. The particles are made of aggregates of Gd complexes, cyclodextrins, aggregating and driving agents (agents that have the role of driving the particles to the site of interest).

Group Leaders:

Enzo Terreno Rachele Stefania Giuseppe Ferrauto