Anna Moore, Ph.D. - Co-investigator Profile
Dr. Anna Moore holds a Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry and is the Director of Molecular Imaging Laboratory at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Associate Professor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School. She is also a member of the Affiliated Faculty of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Her research deals with non-invasive imaging of molecular targets in diabetes, cancer and neurological disorders. Her particular interest is in applying imaging to the studies on diabetic pancreas and islet transplantation. This approach offers great hope in understanding both the mechanisms behind diabetes progression, and the translation of new concepts from the bench to the bedside.
The importance of early diabetes detection by non-invasive imaging is underscored by the ability to explore new ways to prevent and cure diabetes. Patients could be monitored over the course of the disease, which would include individual responses to drug therapy and evaluation of islet transplantation. Furthermore, establishment of a clinical approach to image beta cells and their function would allow at-risk individuals to be monitored prior to onset of diabetes.
As a basic researcher in the field of molecular imaging Dr. Moore was the first to apply this novel approach for diabetes detection and treatment monitoring. Her very first publication in the area of imaging diabetic pancreas described the possibility to image beta cell mass using target-specific imaging probes (Diabetes, 2001, 50:2231; 2007, Angew Chem, 2007, 46-47:8998). Since reduction in beta cell mass is always the consequence of inflammation in Type 1 diabetes, she next investigated whether non-invasive imaging could detect diabetogenic lymphocytes in the pancreas prior to the onset of the disease (Magn Reson Med, 2002, 47:751; Diabetes, 2004, 53:1459; Magn Reson Med, 2008, 59:712, Immunity, 2010, 32:568-80). Diabetes progression is also characterized by beta cell death and changes in islet vasculature. Dr. Moore investigated these phenomena in respective publications (Diabetes, 2005, 54: 1780; Diabetes, 2007, 56:2677).
Since islet transplantation has recently emerged as a clinical modality to treat Type 1 diabetes patients, there is a tremendous need to monitor islet engraftment non-invasively. In this area Dr. Moore made a significant progress demonstrating the feasibility of monitoring islet transplantation and graft rejection first in mice and then in non-human primates, the latter being a major contribution to clinical translation of this approach. This very widely published work has had a high impact on the community (Nature Med, 2006, 12:144; Nature Prot, 2006, 1:428; Diabetes, 2006, 55:2419; Transplantation, 2008, 85:1091; Diabetes, Obes Metab, 2008, 10(s4):88; Transplantation, 2008 86:1170; Transplantation, 2009, 87:1659; Diabetes, 2011, 60:565-571).
New direction in her research deals with image-guided therapeutic delivery to diabetic pancreas. The objectives of this project are to develop image-guided agent carrying therapeutics and test it in vivo in animal models of diabetes. Additional benefit of the agent is in the ability to monitor its accumulation and distribution to the pancreas non-invasively.
Molecular imaging, image-guided therapy, contrast agent, non-invasive monitoring of drug distribution