Kevin Van der borght
Doctoral fellow – DruQuaR lab – UGent Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Principal Investigator: prof. Bart De Spiegeleer(PhD)
Melanoma is considered to be one of the deadliest cancers worldwide. Originating from melanocytes in skin and mucosa with metastasis to other organs, it is difficult to treat. Human growth hormone (hGH) and the growth hormone-receptor (GHR) are normally involved in regulatory processes like metabolism, balanced growth, and cell differentiation. However, the human GHR was found to be over-expressed in i.a. different melanoma cell lines and may thus play a role in metastasis and invasion of human melanoma. Derivates of somatropin (i.e. recombinantly produced hGH) show potential to visualize and treat these types of cancer in humans.
The main goal of this research is to develop a tumor-selective protein drug for use in diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. Somatropin and its derivates are therefore labeled with a radioactive marker (68Ga for diagnosis and 177Lu for treatment) and chemically characterized using chromatographic (e.g. UPLC-MS) and spectroscopic (e.g. CD) techniques. Their theranostic potential is investigated using in-vitro ligand binding techniques (e.g. native MS and bioassays), followed by in vivo preclinical pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic studies using murine cancer models. Eventually, clinical trials are envisaged.