Ali Azhdarinia, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Center for Molecular ImagingAli.Azhdarinia@uth.tmc.edu
Molecular imaging uses targeted delivery of contrast agents to non-invasively image specific biochemical or cellular processes. This approach relies on target selection and drug design to produce a specific imaging agent. In the past decade, discoveries at the gene and molecular level have produced an increasing number of targets in cancer cells which are being studied with molecular imaging technologies. A variety of approaches exist for making imaging agents, ranging from basic research to clinical application. Dr. Azhdarinia’s background in cancer imaging, radionuclide therapy and radiopharmaceutical automation provide insight into different strategies for new drug design using bifunctional chelating agents.
Dr. Ali Azhdarinia received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston, focusing on the field of radiochemistry. His research training was performed in the Department of Experimental Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and involved the development and characterization of novel imaging probes. He has designed new imaging agents with radioactive contrast for SPECT and PET imaging, and has used beta-emitting radionuclides for targeted radiation therapy. As a postdoctoral fellow at M.D. Anderson, he translated Gallium-68 chemistry methods into the development of an automated radiopharmaceutical synthesizer. Dr. Azhdarinia transitioned to industry and co-founded a biotech start-up where he served as Director of Research and laid the foundation for a drug development platform that can be used for broad imaging applications. Additionally, he continued the development of the automation platform and created a roadmap for commercialization of the technology.
In the Center for Molecular Imaging, Dr. Azhdarinia leads the Chemistry and Probe Development Core, a component of the NCI Network for Translational Research. Given the increased emphasis on bringing personalized medicine to the bedside, more versatile drug platforms are being developed by Dr. Azhdarinia to enable multi-modality techniques for nuclear/optical imaging along with multi-valent molecules for image-guided therapy.
1. Yang, D.J., Azhdarinia, A., Wu, P., Yu, D-F., Tansey, W., Kohanim, S., Kim, E.E., and Podoloff, D.A. In Vivo and In Vitro Measurement of Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells Using 99mTc-EC- Annexin V. Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 16(1):73-84, 2001.
2. Schechter, N.R., Yang, D.J., Azhdarinia, A., Kohanim, S., Wendt, R., Oh, C-S., Hu, M., Yu, D-F., Bryant, J., Ang, K.K., Forster, K.M., Kim, E.E., and Podoloff, D.A. Assessment of EGF receptors with 99mTc-ethylenedicysteine-C225 monoclonal antibody. Anticancer Drugs. 14:49-56, 2003.
3. Yang, D.J., Kim, C-G., Schechter, N.R., Azhdarinia, A., Yu, D-F., Oh, C-S., Bryant, J.L., Won, J.J., Kim, E. E., Podoloff, D.A. Multifunctional Glucose Transport System Targeted Imaging Using 99mTc-EC-deoxyglucose. Radiology. 226:465-473, 2003.
4. Schechter, N.R., Wendt, R.E. 3rd, Yang, D.J., Azhdarinia, A., Erwin, W.D., Stachowiak, A.M., Broemeling, L.D., Kim, E.E., Cox, J.D., Podoloff, D.A., Ang, K.K. Radiation dosimetry of 99mTc-labeled C225 in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. J Nucl Med. 45(10):1683-7, 2004.
5. Azhdarinia, A., Yang, D.J., Yu, D-F., Mendez, R., Oh, C., Kohanim, S., Bryant, J.L., Kim, E.E. Regional radiochemotherapy using in situ hydrogel. Pharm Res. 22(5):776-83, 2005.
6. Yang, D.J., Ozaki, K., Oh, C-S., Azhdarinia, A., Yang, T., Ito, M., Greenwell, A.C., Bryant, J.L., Kohanim, S., Wong, V.K., Kim, E.E. 99mTc -EC-Guanine: Synthesis, Biodistribution and Tumor Imaging in Animals. Pharm Res. 22 (9):1471-9, 2005.
7. Karacalioglu, A.O., Yang, D.J., Azhdarinia, A., Mendez, R. Oh, C., Kohanim, S., Chanda, M., Greenwell, A.C., Yu, D.F., Kim, E.E. Radiolabeled l-Lysine for Tumor Imaging. Acad Radiol. 13(11):1327-37, 2006.
8. Azhdarinia, A., Yang, D.J., Chao, C., Mourtada, F. Infrared-based module for synthesis of 68Ga-labeled radiotracers. Nuc Med Biol. 34(1):121-7, 2007.
9. Takahashi, N., Yang, D.J., Kohanim, S., Oh, C.S., Yu, D.F., Azhdarinia, A., Kurihara, H., Zhang, X., Chang, J.Y., Kim, E.E. Targeted functional imaging of estrogen receptors with (99m)Tc-GAP-EDL. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 34(3): 354-362, 2007.
10. Schechter, N.R., Yang, D.J., Azhdarinia, A., Chanda, M. Technologies for translational imaging using generators in oncology. Recent Pat Anticancer Drug Discov. 2(3):251-8, 2007.