The Imaging Probe Development Center (IPDC) was initiated in the incubator space of the Common Fund (http://commonfund.nih.gov/index.aspx) and has transitioned to the intramural program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (https://intramural.nhlbi.nih.gov/Offices/IPDC/Pages/default.aspx). It is dedicated to the production of new imaging probes for the intramural NIH research community, and is working on projects for requesting scientists from more than a dozen NIH Institutes. Nearly all of these imaging probes are not commercially available, nor are they viable commercial products, and most are new compositions-of-matter (http://nihlibrary.ors.nih.gov/ipdcdb/IPDCDB_Search.asp).
The IPDC was born from the realization that imaging technologies will be crucial in basic, translational, and clinical research in the 21st century, and that the synthetic chemistry required to reliably produce imaging probes lies at the heart of research within imaging technologies. To this end, the IPDC has recruited the equipment and expertise to concurrently synthesize multiple types of imaging probes for bioscientists with diverse research interests, encompassing all imaging modalities, including optical, radionuclide, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance. The IPDC embodies an exciting new approach to apply and combine chemistry and imaging sciences toward specific problems in biology and medical sciences, and will be a truly interdisciplinary effort aimed at maximizing returns from the revolutionary new discoveries being described in modern imaging. A significant part of the IPDC will also be directed, independently, to the discovery of new imaging approaches and compositions. The IPDC houses scientific staff, mostly chemists, who have interests and expertise in one or more aspects of molecular imaging.
The IPDC is generating known and novel imaging probes for targeting receptors, cells, and tissues, and for preclinical in vivo evaluations by its intramural collaborators. Many such interesting agents have been described in the scientific literature, but are often not explored further due to lack of a reliable supply of reagent. One aspect of the IPDC’s mission is to rectify this situation. IPDC-supplied reagents will not be limited to one imaging modality, but will include the flexible application of diverse technologies. Also, the IPDC will seek to develop novel state-of-the-art imaging probes in collaboration with biological and biomedical intramural scientists who can provide or suggest suitable targeting agent/receptor pairs.
Increased knowledge of disease-related cellular components, growing expertise in the design of target-specific probes, and improvements in imaging modalities can be brought together through the synthesis of rationally-designed probes to usher in a new generation of imaging and detection agents. The need for this interdisciplinary program was seen as overcoming a critical barrier in imaging and targeting studies that could ultimately benefit all disciplines within biological and clinical sciences.
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