Jan Grimm, MD, PhD
Year elected: 2018
Current membership category: Active
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
1275 York Avenue
New York, NY 10065
United States of America
As a board certified Radiologist and Nuclear Medicine physician my area of expertise is Molecular Imaging, i.e. the development of novel imaging approaches to interrogate molecular signatures of disease. I have expertise in the use of nanoparticles, radioactive tracers and optical agents for imaging and therapy. My lab has developed a new imaging modality, Cerenkov imaging, and brought it from the bench to the clinic. Cerenkov imaging allows for optical imaging of approved radiotracers based on the Cerenkov effect. Using Cerenkov light, my lab now developed novel applications for radiotracers, such as activatable agents that light up upon interacting with cancer-relevant proteins.
Derived from a clinical observation reading PET/CT scans, I developed Positron Lymphography, a novel approach to identify tumor-positive lymph nodes. We showed that 18F-FDG from a peritumoral injection allows for identifying tumor-positive nodes. With this method physicians can obtain a map of tumor positive nodes for improved staging and therapy planning. This method is currently evaluated in clinical trials in the US and the UK and has been proven successful in patients, even to detect small tumor deposits.
My lab is also exploring the utilization of nanoparticles for novel imaging approaches and therapy. Here nanoparticles are drug carriers or even the drug itself. By using a clinically approved nanoparticle, we are again close to moving this research direction from the bench to the bed.
In all my projects, I am striving to understand the underlying biology since the biology governs the imaging approach and the imaging can provide information on the underlying molecular system. In this context, we explored Prostate-specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA), the most widely evaluated target for prostate cancer. My lab set out to understand its biology and described a novel signaling role of PSMA in prostate cancer with therapeutic and prognostic implications.