Dr. Hao Hong wins Berson-Yalow Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine

Dr. Hao Hong, Research Associate in the Molecular Imaging and Nanotechnology Laboratory was selected for the Berson-Yalow Award, one of the most prestigious prizes from the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM). Dr. Hong works with Assistant Professor Weibo Cai of Radiology, Medical Physics, and the Carbone Cancer Center.

The Berson-Yalow Award is given every year at the SNM annual meeting, which typically has ~ 5,000 attendees. This year's meeting is in Miami, June 9-13. The objective of the Berson-Yalow Award is to honor investigators who submit the most original scientific abstracts and make the most significant contributions to basic or clinical radioassay. The award is named after Nobel Laureate Rosalyn Yalow. Rosalyn Yalow was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977 "for the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones". Dr. Yalow was the John Cameron lecturer in Medical Physics in 1989.

Dr. Hong was selected for his abstract entitled "RadioimmunoPET imaging of tissue factor in pancreatic cancer". Upregulation of tissue factor (TF) expression leads to increased patient morbidity and mortality in many solid tumor types. Therefore, the goal of this study was to develop a positron emission tomography (PET) tracer for imaging of TF expression in pancreatic cancer, which has a dismal 5-year survival rate of ~5% in the united states. The antibody-based PET tracer, 64Cu-NOTA-ALT-836 which binds specifically to human TF, was investigated in several pancreatic cancer xenograft models with different levels of TF expression. For the first time, successful PET imaging of TF expression was achieved, with prominent and TF-specific uptake of the tracer in BXPC-3 pancreatic tumors in mice.

This is the 2nd year that the Molecular Imaging and Nanotechnology laboratory submitted abstracts to the SNM annual meeting. Among the 8 abstracts submitted this year, 5 were selected as oral presentations. Three of these will be presented by Dr. Hao Hong, and 2 will be presented by Yin Zhang, a 4th year Medical Physics graduate student. Both Dr. Hao Hong and Yin Zhang were also selected for Travel Awards, where only a total of ~20 Travel Awards were given each year.

In addition, Yin Zhang was selected to compete in the Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council Young Investigator Award Symposium, where 3 of 7 presenters will be selected and awarded by a committee immediately after the Symposium.