BME Ph.D. candidate awarded NIH F31 NRSA Fellowship

Anglie Rivera

Angelie Rivera-Rodríguez, Ph.D. candidate in the Rinaldi-Ramos Lab, received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship for his project titled, Tracking Adoptive T Cell Therapy Using Magnetic Particle Imaging. She received funding to support her last year of Ph.D. studies.

The objective of this project is to enable the non-invasive and quantitative evaluation of immune cell therapies in brain tumors using a novel biomedical imaging modality, the Magnetic Particle Imaging.

Immunotherapy has tremendous promise for eradicating cancers. One approach to boost immune response to attack cancer is adoptive T cell transfer (ACT) using tumor-specific cytotoxic T cells. ACT cancer immunotherapy has demonstrated tremendous success against melanoma, leukemia, and lymphoma, but application to other solid tumors requires new developments. Despite decades of research, prognosis for patients with malignant brain tumors remains poor and novel treatment strategies are urgently needed. Development of adoptive T cell immunotherapies for brain cancers would benefit tremendously from biomedical imaging modalities that enable non-invasive tracking of T cell tumor accumulation and biodistribution after delivery. This project will pioneer the application of Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) for non-invasive and quantitative tracking of adoptive T cell brain cancer immunotherapies by tuning tracer surface coating to achieve fast and efficient labeling of T cells, and evaluating the accuracy of this new imaging modality in the context of T cell accumulation in pre-clinical models of intracranial tumors. By enabling non-invasive and quantitative evaluation of adoptive T cell biodistribution and accumulation in tumors, the proposed research has the potential to greatly accelerate the development of safer and more effective adoptive T cell immunotherapy treatments for brain and other cancers.