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Molecular Imaging Agent Laboratory


Biomedical Research Tower (BRT) is a 10-story, 403,000-square-foot facility housing more than 180,000 square feet of lab space. The BRT is the largest research facility on the OSU campus, nearly doubling the amount of biomedical research space on campus.

Within the BRT (7th Floor), the Molecualr Imaging Agent Laboratory is housed.  The facility is part of the Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging resources/services.

The laboratory, led by Dr. Michael Tweedle, pursues problems in cancer diagnosis and therapy using biochemical in vivo imaging. The goal is hyper-effective cancer therapy through biochemically personalized treatment.

Mutation and selection makes human cancer heterogeneous with respect to specific protein expressions and biochemical pathways used for growth and metastasis. The heterogeneity in phenotype results in the eventual failure of treatments targeted at a specific proteins and pathways. Hence targeted therapeutics are only effective in subsets of patients, who themselves usually fail treatment eventually. Current research projects are aimed at this fundamental problem. 

  • Theranostics are experimental injectables that combine the function of diagnostics and therapeutics. They can use whole body in vivo imaging to pre-select only receptor positive patients for treatment, then treat, monitor and modulate the treatment in progress. 177LuAMBA is a GRP+ targeted radiotheranostic from the group that can kill cancer cells within 2 mm of the targeted cell. Metal, organic, and peptide chemistries were all important elements of its discovery.
  • Multivalent and multifunctional approaches to cancer targeting usually create dose limiting kidney or liver toxicity during excretion of the drugs. A general solution is to place cleavable (e.g. enzyme substrates) linking groups between the targeting and toxic moieties of multifunctional drug molecules, chosen to react only in the natural environment of the liver or kidney. The problem encompasses biochemistry of the organ, chemical kinetics and medicinal chemistry.    
  • Intra-operative diagnostics are an emerging technology that seeks to use new imaging technologies, mainly based upon fluorescence light emitting pharmaceuticals or ultrasound, to guide surgical interventions. Projects will place the student into collaborations with surgeons and bioengineers. 
Clinical research problems are translated into biochemical targets and addressed through creation of new pharmaceuticals. Organic, inorganic and radiochemistry, cell and animal biology and in vivo micro-imaging are used as needed. The group has a broad intellectual history and provides opportunities to exercise creativity at the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine. We use a wide range of techniques to create and characterize new, usually complex multifunctional molecules, and take the solved chemical problems to testing in cells, animals and in some cases clinical testing. 
The group is in its second year after starting up at OSU mid 2009. Funding has initially been provided by the university. NIH and NCI will be typical additional funding sources.  


Molecular Imaging Agent Laboratory
Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging
Department of Radiology
The Ohio State University
7th floor, BRT
460 W. 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210

Affiliated Facilities



Program Director:
Michael F. Tweedle, PhD.