Knottin Peptide PET Tracer Detects IPF

October 15, 2019

Advances in precision molecular imaging promise to transform our ability to detect, diagnose and treat disease. Researchers from the Multimodality Molecular Imaging Lab have engineered and validated of a new cystine knot peptide (knottin) that selectively recognizes human integrin αvβ6 with single-digit nanomolar affinity. They solved its 3D structure by NMR and x-ray crystallography and validated leads with 3 different radiolabels in pre-clinical models of cancer. They evaluated the lead tracer’s safety, biodistribution and pharmacokinetics in healthy human volunteers, and showed its ability to detect multiple cancers (pancreatic, cervical and lung) in patients at two study locations. Additionally, they demonstrated that the knottin PET tracers can also detect fibrotic lung disease in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patients. Their results indicate that these cystine knot PET tracers may have potential utility in multiple disease states that are associated with upregulation of integrin αvβ6.