My research focuses on the development of radiopharmaceuticals for imaging and therapy of cancer, and translating these to the clinic. In particular I am interested in the use of alpha particle emitters for targeted radionuclide therapy. In addition, my group is developing methods for non-invasive imaging and quantitation of genetically modified cell therapies in vivo (e.g. CAR-T cells) to provide data on their biodistribution, expansion and efficacy over time. We have also developed and implemented computational machine learning tools for defining disease burden in models of pancreatic cancer using MRI imaging in order to reduce the numbers of animals used in scientific research.
Clinically compliant spatial and temporal imaging of chimeric antigen receptor T-cells. Nat Commun (2018) 9(1):1081. PMID: 29540684
Organ Biodistribution of Radiolabelled γδ T Cells Following Liposomal Alendronate Administration in Different Mouse Tumour Models. Nanotheranostics (2020) 4(2):71-82. PMID: 32190534
Systemic delivery and SPECT/CT in vivo imaging of 125I-labelled oncolytic adenoviral mutants in models of pancreatic cancer. Sci Rep (2019) 9(1):12840. PMID: 31492884
Site-specific stabilization of minigastrin analogs against enzymatic degradation for enhanced cholecystokinin-2 receptor targeting. Theranostics (2018) 8(11): 2896-2908. PMID: 29896292
PET and SPECT imaging of a radiolabeled minigastrin analogue conjugated with DOTA, NOTA, and NODAGA and labeled with (64)Cu, (68)Ga, and (111)In. Mol Pharm (2014) 11(11):3930-7. PMID: 24992368
My research team works on radiolabelling biomolecules (e.g. peptides, proteins and antibodies) for various reasons including: determination of their in vivo biodistribution, validation of in vivo targets, or as imaging or radiopharmaceutical therapy agents for cancer. We use positron emitting radionuclides such as 68Ga, 89Zr or 64Cu in order to carry out in vivo PET imaging, 111In or 99mTc for SPECT imaging, or therapy radionuclides such as 177Lu (beta particle emitter) and alpha particle emitters such as 225Ac. Unfortunately, despite extremely promising clinical results, there is a global shortage of alpha particle emitting radionuclides which hampers this type of research. However, as part of the Radionuclides for Health UK project, we aim to be working with 212Pb sourced from the UK National Nuclear Laboratory within the next 2 years.
Advanced cell therapies such as CAR-T cells can be genetically modified to express a transporter that can take up a radioactive probe in vivo. Our cell tracking work uses the sodium iodide transporter, hNIS, along with 99mTc injection to track these therapeutic cells as they localise to the tumour. Our research focuses on obtaining quantitative measures of the numbers of cells being detected and acting on the tumour over time.
We also use radioactive probes such as 18F-FDG and 18F-FLT to monitor response to various types of cancer treatments in vivo (e.g. chemo or antibody treatments) as well as MRI using a novel computational 3D mouse atlas tool developed in the lab. Increased accuracy in measuring tumour burden reduces biological variability, allowing a reduction in group size of studies that use orthotopic tumours and those that develop spontaneously over long periods of time.
New bioconjugated technetium and rhenium folates synthesized by transmetallation reaction with zinc derivatives Borràs J, Foster J, Kashani R et al. Molecules (2021) 26(7)
Bioconjugated technetium carbonyls by transmetalation reaction with zinc derivatives Borràs J, Lecina J, Foster J et al. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters (2021) 37(7)
Simultaneous dual isotope PET-SPECT/CT imaging of pancreatic cancer Dexter K, BROWN N, Foster J et al. (2020) (1)
Cancer associated fibroblast FAK regulates malignant cell metabolism. Demircioglu F, Wang J, Candido J et al. Nature Communications (2020) 11(1) 1290-1290
Neutron Activated 153Sm Sealed in Carbon Nanocapsules for in Vivo Imaging and Tumor Radiotherapy Wang JTW, Klippstein R, Martincic M et al. ACS Nano (2020) 14(7) 129-141
18F-Trifluoromethanesulfinate Enables Direct C–H 18F-Trifluoromethylation of Native Aromatic Residues in Peptides Kee CW, Tack O, Guibbal F et al. Journal of the American Chemical Society (2020) 142(1) 1180-1185
Organ biodistribution of radiolabelled δγ t cells following liposomal alendronate administration in different mice tumour models Wang JTW, Hodgins NO, Al-Jamal WT et al. Nanotheranostics (2020) 4(7) 71-82
Systemic delivery and SPECT/CT in vivo imaging of 125I-labelled oncolytic adenoviral mutants in models of pancreatic cancer Stella Man YK, Foster J, Carapuça E et al. Scientific Reports (2019) 9(7)
Functionalised LRP1 targeted carbon nanotubes across the blood-brain barrier in vitro and in vivo after intravenous injection Wang J, Kafa H, Rubio N et al. Neuro-Oncology (2019) 21(10) iv3-iv3
AGR2, a unique tumor-associated antigen, is a promising candidate for antibody targeting Crnogorac-Jurcevic T, Radon T, Shah S et al. Oncotarget (2019) (1)For additional publications, please click here
I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry from University of Natal, Durban, South Africa and went on carry out an MSc by research into the Photochemistry of Sunscreen Constituents at same university.
I then moved to the UK to the Joint Department of Physics at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, Surrey and completed my PhD looking at Development of PET radiotracers for the in vivo assessment of multidrug resistance. I joined the Nuclear Medicine Research Laboratory at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry as a post doc with Prof Stephen Mather.
With the advent of pre-clinical imaging systems this lab developed into the Cancer Imaging Laboratory, which I now lead.