Established in 1972 by Charles Todd, City of Hope’s Department of Molecular Imaging & Therapy began at a time in which immune-based strategies for cancer were in their infancy. For example, there were no T-cell subsets and antibodies were all polyclonal. Todd, a chemist by training, was well known for his work on CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen), the best known tumor marker of its time, and his structural approach to immune problems. When monoclonal antibody technology became generally available in 1978, John Shively in Todd’s lab, produced a Mab to CEA that after genetic engineering and radiolabeling went into City of Hope patients as both an imaging and therapeutic agent.
Today, the Department of Molecular Imaging & Therapy continues to advance original vision, focusing simultaneously on immunology and on structural biology. The department has principal investigators (each of whom is aided by state-of-the-art facilities in mass spectrometry and NMR) and also features a computer cluster for the study of computational chemistry.The unique combination of biological and structural studies at the Department of Molecular Imaging & Therapy, coupled with an intensive exploration of structure-function relationships, has created a thriving, productive environment and a fruitful collaboration among investigators at City of Hope and at other institutions.
The Cantin lab focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) and other virus-induced neuroinflammatory diseases. The focus of Dr. Cantin's lab is on pathogenesis of encephalitis and ocular herpes stromal keratitis and the mechanisms that control reactivation of latent HSV infections. The lab is developing novel immunotherapeutic approaches to treat neuroinflammatory diseases, including studies involving manipulation of the microbiota and investigation of nutritional, pre- and probiotic interventions.
Dr. Colcher’s group is focused on the development of targeted agents for the imaging and treatment of malignancies. His lab is working on both hematologic malignancies and solid tumors such as breast, prostate, gastric and colorectal cancer.