2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nanotech 2007 - 10th Annual

Advancing Drug Discovery and Development with Molecular Imaging

Nicholas van Bruggen

Nicholas van Bruggen

Associate Director: Biomedical Imaging

“I joined Genentech in 1995 to set up a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facility dedicated to experimental research. I was attracted to Genentech, in part, because of its progressive philosophy to drug discovery. Combining state-of-the-art technology with innovative biology represented a unique opportunity to develop and apply novel in vivo imaging techniques to enhance preclinical research. Since the inception of the MRI facility, it has grown to include a range of biomedical imaging modalities in addition to MRI, including MicroCT and imaging techniques using fluorescence probes. The Biomedical Imaging Group is part of the Department of Physiology, and our mission is to help realize the therapeutic potential of our scientific discoveries.”

Current Projects
“The Biomedical Imaging Group is involved in a number collaborative projects central to Genentech’s discovery research program. In vivo imaging techniques are used in many late-stage research projects in the areas of oncology, immunology and vascular biology. The majority of our research efforts are focused on gaining an understanding of in vivo physiology and drug action from knowledge of the biophysics of the biological process. For example, we are developing ways to assess tissue perfusion and blood vessel morphology in order to evaluate the potential for VEGF and other growth factors as part of our therapeutic angiogenesis initiative. This is achieved using a number of approaches, including functional MRI imaging techniques to measure skeletal muscle metabolism and blood flow as well as angiographic techniques to demonstrate large vessel blood velocity.”

“Genentech provides a stimulating and collaborative environment by promoting an interdisciplinary approach to science. The Biomedical Imaging Group collaborates with many research groups and scientists throughout discovery research. Furthermore, while our research focus is preclinical, because of the utility of these imaging techniques in clinical medicine, we also interact closely with scientists in both clinical and pharmacological sciences.”

“Recent technological developments in the area of medical imaging have provided unprecedented ability to investigate pathology and physiology in vivo. We can gain an understanding of the altered pathophysiology of disease states and the mechanisms of action of putative therapeutics. These techniques provide insight into biology that is often difficult or impossible to obtain using more conventional approaches. Furthermore, the availability of these techniques in routine clinical practice provides an efficient way to realize the therapeutic implication of basic scientific discoveries.”

Speaking in the special symposium on Nanotechnology for Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment.

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