Our research is focused on the early and accurate detection of breast cancer (BrCa) by molecular imaging. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. Each year about one in eight women will be diagnosed, and over 500,000 deaths occur from breast cancer globally. To improve chances of survival, breast cancer must be diagnosed and treated at an early stage. Conventional imaging uses mammography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound. Limitations in these can result in false-positive results or undetected tumors. It is vital to create more sensitive imaging methods to diagnose BrCa, to reduce false-positives and to guide therapy. A new approach to targeted molecular imaging agents (TMIAs) for BrCa will be described for single-modal and dual-modal imaging by fluorescence and MRI. To target these imaging agents, we employed a new BrCa-targeting peptide called 18-4. This peptide was synthesized by solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) followed by conjugation of a near infrared dye, Cy5.5-1S, utilizing a new modular method developed in our lab, to form M3, an imaging agent for BrCa. The modular method was then utilized to construct a single-modal agent containing the MRI-contrast agent metal gadolinium. Lastly, a dual modal targeted imaging agent containing both Gd and Cy5.5-1S for dual modal fluorescence-MRI of BrCa was synthesized. This is the first example of a dual-modal TMIA that is synthesized entirely by SPPS, where the imaging agents are brought in on the side chain of amino acids that coupled as part of the solid phase synthetic approach.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Breast--Cancer--Imaging; Diagnostic imaging--Materials; Molecular probes--Synthesis; Peptides--Synthesis

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Chemistry (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Chemistry and Materials Science (COS)


Hans Schmitthenner

Advisor/Committee Member

Maureen Ferran

Advisor/Committee Member

Joseph J. Hornak


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes