Research

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Alan Packard, PhD

Alan Packard, PhD
Department:
Radiology Research
Division
Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Research
Hospital Title:
Senior Research Associate Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Academic Title:
Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Research Focus Area:
Radiopharmaceutical development
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Research Overview

Alan Packard is the Director of the Radiopharmaceutical Research Laboratory at BCH.  The two primary goals of his research are the development and preclinical evaluation of 1) radiometal-based PET (positron emission tomography) imaging agents and therapeutics and 2) 18F-labeled compounds for the PET imaging of heart disease and neurological disorders. 

The principal objectives of the radiometal projects are the imaging and therapy of neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial solid tumor diagnosed in children, and inflammatory bowel disease, a common condition for which there are currently no non-invasive options for the evaluation of disease status.  Both of these projects employ antibodies radiolabeled with 64Cu or 89Zr for imaging while 177Lu is employed as the radiolabel for the therapeutic arm of the neuroblastoma project.  An important component of the radiometal projects is the more complete elucidation of the chemical properties of the complexes formed by the radiometals with the bifunctional chelators used to attach them to proteins.

The primary 18F project is the development of a new radiopharmaceutical for evaluating myocardial perfusion with PET.  The prototype compound is derived from a rhodamine dye, and preclinical studies show that it has high uptake in the heart and low uptake in adjacent non-target tissues, such as the liver.  Another 18F-labeled compound closely related to the perfusion agent is being investigated for imaging drug resistance in tumors.  The second 18F project focuses on the development of a new imaging agent for the D2 receptor in the brain.  In contrast to existing D2 imaging agents, which are D2 antagonists and thus show only total D2 receptor density, the proposed compound is a D2 agonist, which, if successful, will allow the differentiation of the functional state D2 receptors.  These differences may be important in diseases such as schizophrenia, but there is currently no way to measure this in vivo.       

Dr. Packard, in collaboration with Dr. Jason Dearling, also supports the “Imogen” imaging core at BCH.  This resource provides a mechanism for probe development, small-animal imaging, and data analysis for the research community, both within BCH as well as to external investigators. 

About Alan Packard 

Alan Packard received his PhD in inorganic chemistry from Colorado State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in technetium chemistry at the University of Cincinnati.  Dr. Packard is active in the leadership of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging where he currently serves as general program chair. 

Key Publications

Bartholomä MD, He H, Pacak CA, Dunning P, Fahey FH, McGowan FX, Cowan DB, Treves ST, Packard AB. Biological characterization of F-18-labeled rhodamine B, a potential positron emission tomography perfusion tracer. Nucl Med Biol 2013; 40:1043-1048. 

Bartholomä MD, Gottumukkala V, Baker A, Dunning P, Fahey FH, Treves ST, Packard AB.  Fluorine-18-labeled rhodamine esters as myocardial perfusion agents for PET: Synthesis, stability, and biodistribution. J Med Chem 2012; 55:11004–11012.

Maheshwari V, Dearling JL, Treves ST, Packard AB. Measurement of the rate of copper(II) exchange for copper-64 complexes of bifunctional chelators. Inorg Chim Acta 2012; 393:318-323 (invited contribution).

Dearling JL, Voss SD, Dunning P, Snay E, Fahey F, Smith SV, Huston JS, Meares CF, Treves ST Packard AB. Imaging Cancer Using PET - the Effect of the Bifunctional Chelator on the Biodistribution of a 64Cu-Labeled Antibody. Nucl Med Biol 2011; 38:29-38.

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