More About Office of Technology Development Minus iconIcon indicating subtraction, or that the element can be closed. Plus IconIcon indicating addition, or that the element can be opened. Arrow (down) icon.An arrow icon, usually indicating that the containing element can be opened and closed.

Imaging Tool and Agent for Therapies Targeting Tumor Associated Macrophages



Tumor Associated Macrophages (TAMs) are considered an attractive therapeutic target for a variety of solid tumors (including breast, kidney, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancers), and they are an area of increasing focus within cancer immunology.  Accordingly, there has been increasing interest within the pharma/biotech industry in developing effective imaging tools to:

  1. Aid TAM-targeting drug development

  2. Identify patients suitable for TAM-targeting therapies

  3. Guide clinical decisions during treatment

To address these unmet needs, MSK investigators have developed a lipid-based nanotechnology platform to noninvasively image TAM. They have used   (89)Zr-labeled TAM imaging agents, based on the natural nanoparticle rHDL, in an orthotopic mouse model of breast cancer and demonstrated their specificity for macrophages, a result that was corroborated by flow cytometry. Quantitative macrophage PET imaging with MSK’s (89)Zr-rHDL imaging agents could be valuable for noninvasive monitoring of TAM immunology and targeted cancer treatment.


  • Potential to be used  as a companion imaging agent to evaluate the safety and efficacy of TAM-targeting therapeutics
  • Limited competition, since there is no theranostic product for TAM in the market


There is a growing market for TAM-targeting therapies. In the U.S. alone, about 20,000 patients annually are treated with TAM-targeting agents, such as anti-CSF1R antibodies and TGFβR1 kinase inhibitors, for advanced refractory prostate cancer; about 36,800 are treated annually for advanced pancreatic cancer. This invention would deliver value as a theranostic platform to enable visualization of TAM-targeting agent delivery, and it would facilitate risk-benefit analysis of any given TAM-targeting agent on a personalized basis.


Imaging Tool, Diagnostic


PCT application PCT/US2016/028349 pending


Pérez-Medina C et al. PET Imaging of Tumor-Associated Macrophages with 89Zr-Labeled High-Density Lipoprotein Nanoparticles. J Nucl Med. 2015;56(8):1272-1277 (PubMed link)


Thomas Reiner, PhD, Laboratory Head, Memorial Hospital Research Laboratories, Memorial Sloan Kettering


Eileen Flowers, PhD, Licensing Manager, Tel: 646-888-1067, E-mail:


Stage of Development

In vitro