Applications of MR (EPR and NMR) to characterize the tumor micro-environment

Bruxelles Woluwe

One main issue is to characterize how the tumor microenvironment influences the response to therapy. We are testing novel approaches using the modulation of the vascular network and/or the inhibition of the oxygen consumption by tumor cells to increase the response to radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Besides the identification of innovative approaches to increase the cytotoxicity for tumor cells, we are trying to define optimal schedule for an optimal therapy.
As illustrative examples of our research activities, we are characterizing the evolution of the tumor microenvironment after therapies that are targeting the tumor metabolism or that are acting in the Choline Kinase pathway. Thanks to the unique tools that have been developed in our laboratory, we are able to understand the evolution of the tumor hemodynamics, and to propose new strategies to optimize radiation therapy and chemotherapy. In another research topic, we are evaluating the influence of the modulation of the tumor hemodynamics on the delivery of anti-cancer agents and on the tumor response.
Recent activities in tumor cell labelling by imaging reporters (EPR, MRI, bioluminescence) allowed us to monitor the migration of the tumor cells and their homing in distant organs (monitoring of the metastasis process) and to evaluate determinant factors that influence the metastatic progression (including the role of HIF in the metetastatic progression of breast cancer).