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Mammary Carcinoma Molecular Imaging for Diagnosis and Therapeutics (MAMMOTH)
Principal Investigator Prof. Dr. E.G.E. de Vries (University Medical Center Groningen)
CTMM Program manager: Eric Caldenhoven
The MAMMOTH project aims to meet the twin requirements of earlier detection of breast cancer and new patient-tailored therapies to treat it, by developing innovative imaging techniques capable of detecting alterations in cell biology that indicate the presence of the disease – for example, hypoxic tissue, angiogenesis and changes in the expression of hormone and growth factor receptors.
The project team will identify ligands for these cell biology markers, labeling them either with fluorescent tracers to allow the use of molecular optical imaging for breast cancer screening, or with radioactive tracers so that PET/SPECT imaging can be used to improve breast cancer staging and characterization. Optical (fluorescent) molecular imaging is a promising modality for screening as it is patient-friendly, fast and does not involve ionizing radiation. Being non-invasive, SPECT/PET molecular imaging is preferable to obtaining tumor biopsies in order to determine detailed receptor activity in individual lesions.
Fluorescent and radioactive tracers will be validated in-vitro and in rodent models, and will include pharmacokinetics and safety studies. Thereafter, relevant tracers will be produced under GMP conditions for use in clinical ‘proof-of-concept’ trials for screening and optimization of patient-tailored therapy, by comparing the data obtained from fluorescence and SPECT/PET molecular imaging with immunohistochemical results obtained from biopsy samples.

Professor de Vries - E.G.E. de Vries.jpg

Prof. Dr. E.G.E. de Vries:
“The MAMMOTH project CTMM grant will allow us to translate novel molecular optical imaging as well as SPECT/PET imaging of breast cancer from the laboratory into the clinic. With the techniques we develop, we hope to improve breast cancer screening as well as staging and patient-tailored drug selection for metastatic breast cancer.”
Prof. Dr. E.G.E. de Vries is Professor of Medical Oncology and head of the Department of Medical Oncology at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). She was trained in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at UMCG and from 1982 to 1983 worked as a research fellow at the Department of Medical Oncology, City of Hope National Medical Center (Duarte, USA). She is currently active in patient care, teaching and research. Her research focuses on increasing the sensitivity of tumors to anticancer drugs and she extensively uses molecular imaging techniques to support her work in this area. In addition to laboratory studies, she performs clinical trials. She is currently vice-chair of the board of the Dutch Cancer Society. In 2002 she was appointed a member of the Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and is currently chairperson of the KNAW Medical Sciences Committee.
Industrial partners
  • BG Medicine VN
  • Biomade Technology Foundation
  • BiOrion Technologies
  • Kreatech Biotechnology BV
  • PepTx Inc
  • Philips Electronics Nederland BV
  • QVQ BV i.o. 
  • Roche Nederland BV
  • Westburg
Academic partners
  • Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e), Eindhoven,
  • Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen (UMCG), Groningen,
  • Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht (UMCU), Utrecht,
  • Universiteit Utrecht, Utrecht,
  • VU Medisch Centrum (VUmc), Amsterdam,
Status of the Mammoth project end of 2009: PDF (download)
Mammoth project presentation at the CTMM Annual Meeting 2010: PDF (download)
In response to the first call for project proposals in 2007, the Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM) announced on April 1, 2008, that nine first-call projects would receive research funding amounting to a total of 150 million Euro. On March 10, 2009, it announced that eight new project proposals, submitted in the fall of 2008 in response to the second call for proposals, will receive funding amounting to a total of almost another 100 million Euro.
All Dutch university medical centers, plus several universities, a broad spectrum of small and medium-sized enterprises, major industry leaders including Philips and DSM, and the Dutch Government are involved.
The funding is provided by the Dutch government, industry and academia. The research is focused firmly on the ‘translational’ aspects of molecular medicine so that results can be applied as quickly as possible to actual patient care.
Mammoth is one of the projects from the second call.
3 January 2013




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