Imaging tyrosinase expression.

Recombinant oncolytic vaccina viruses (rVACV) can be used to deliver genes to tumor tissue after systemic administration.

By expressing enzymes involved in melanogenesis (e.g. tyrosinase), production of melanin can be evoked in tumor cells. This gene-evoked melanin production allows for deep tissue imaging with MSOT, offering the ability to visualize targeting of tumor tissue by rVACV. Primary tumors and micro-metastases can be clearly resolved using this technique.

MSOT can therefore be used for the imaging of transgene delivery in vivo for a range of disease models and applications.

Mice bearing PC-3 xenografts (prostate cancer) were imaged 14 days post rVACV injection using MSOT. Melanin expression was visualized by spectral unmixing. Animals injected with control rVACV (left column) show no melanin signals, while animals treated with melanin-rVACV (middle and right columns) express melanin in primary tumor and lymph node metastases. MSOT images are in accordance with ex vivo histology analysis (bottom row). Quantification of optoacoustic signal shows a significant increase in melanin production in tumors and lymph nodes after melanin-rVACV injections vs. control-rVACV (graph on the right).

Stritzker J, Kirscher L, Scadeng M, Deliolanis N, Morscher S, Symvoulidis P, Schaefer K, Zhang Q, Buckel L, Hess M, Donat U, Bradley W, Ntziachristos V, Szalay A, Vaccinia Virus-mediated Melanin Production Allows MR and Optoacoustic Deep Tissue Imaging and Laser-induced Thermotherapy of Cancer, PNAS February 26, 2013 vol. 110 no. 9 3316-3320.

  • Stritzker J et al.,

    Vaccinia Virus-mediated Melanin Production Allows MR and Optoacoustic Deep Tissue Imaging and Laser-induced Thermotherapy of Cancer,

    PNAS February 26, 2013 vol. 110 no. 9 3316-3320. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1216916110.
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