Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Experimental Therapeutics

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

David J. Yang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Franklin C. Wong, M.D., Ph.D., J.D.

Committee Member

Edward Jackson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Osama Mawlawi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Wei Hu, M.D., Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to design, synthesize and develop novel transporter targeting agents for image-guided therapy and drug delivery. Two novel agents, N4-guanine (N4amG) and glycopeptide (GP) were synthesized for tumor cell proliferation assessment and cancer theranostic platform, respectively. N4amG and GP were synthesized and radiolabeled with 99mTc and 68Ga. The chemical and radiochemical purities as well as radiochemical stabilities of radiolabeled N4amG and GP were tested. In vitro stability assessment showed both 99mTc-N4amG and 99mTc-GP were stable up to 6 hours, whereas 68Ga-GP was stable up to 2 hours. Cell culture studies confirmed radiolabeled N4amG and GP could penetrate the cell membrane through nucleoside transporters and amino acid transporters, respectively. Up to 40% of intracellular 99mTc-N4amG and 99mTc-GP was found within cell nucleus following 2 hours of incubation. Flow cytometry analysis revealed 99mTc-N4amG was a cell cycle S phase-specific agent. There was a significant difference of the uptake of 99mTc-GP between pre- and post- paclitaxel-treated cells, which suggests that 99mTc-GP may be useful in chemotherapy treatment monitoring. Moreover, radiolabeled N4amG and GP were tested in vivo using tumor-bearing animal models. 99mTc-N4amG showed an increase in tumor-to-muscle count density ratios up to 5 at 4 hour imaging. Both 99mTc-labeled agents showed decreased tumor uptake after paclitaxel treatment. Immunohistochemistry analysis demonstrated that the uptake of 99mTc-N4amG was correlated with Ki-67 expression. Both 99mTc-N4amG and 99mTc-GP could differentiate between tumor and inflammation in animal studies. Furthermore, 68Ga-GP was compared to 18F-FDG in rabbit PET imaging studies. 68Ga-GP had lower tumor standardized uptake values (SUV), but similar uptake dynamics, and different biodistribution compared with 18F-FDG. Finally, to demonstrate that GP can be a potential drug carrier for cancer theranostics, several drugs, including doxorubicin, were selected to be conjugated to GP. Imaging studies demonstrated that tumor uptake of GP-drug conjugates was increased as a function of time. GP-doxorubicin (GP-DOX) showed a slow-release pattern in in vitro cytotoxicity assay and exhibited anti-cancer efficacy with reduced toxicity in in vivo tumor growth delay study. In conclusion, both N4amG and GP are transporter-based targeting agents. Radiolabeled N4amG can be used for tumor cell proliferation assessment. GP is a potential agent for image-guided therapy and drug delivery.


glycopeptide, Imaging probe, PET imaging, SPECT imaging, guanine, theranostics, drug delivery system



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