Dr. Mark “Marty” Pagel directs the Contrast Agent Molecular Engineering Laboratory (CAMEL), which focuses on molecular imaging research at the pre-clinical and clinical levels to interrogate biomarkers of the tumor microenvironment. Research studies in CAMEL are very multidisciplinary, spanning chemistry, biochemistry, cell & molecular biology, cancer biology, immunology, biomedical engineering, medical physics, and radiology. Due to these multidisciplinary activities, CAMEL provides a great environment for collaborations and for training researchers who are interested in molecular imaging of cancer.
Tumor Acidosis: Dr. Pagel has pioneered the development and application of acidoCEST MRI, which uses Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (CEST) to measure the extracellular pH (pHe) in a solid tumor. He has translated acidoCEST MRI to the radiology clinic. He has also developed PET/MRI co-agents and simultaneous PET/MRI methods that can measure tumor pHe. He is currently investigating MR Fingerprinting as another method for measuring tumor pHe. These tumor pHe measurements are used to improve cancer diagnoses, and to evaluate treatments that directly inhibit glycolysis; treatments that more generally reduce metabolism; treatments that are activated in acidic tumors; and pre-treatments that reduce acidosis and improve immunotherapy.
Tumor Hypoxia: The CAMEL group has optimized Oxygen Enhanced (OE) MSOT that measures oxygen saturation (%sO2 and ΔsO2) that are biomarkers of vascular hypoxia. We are performing a clinical MSOT study that detects hypoxic, metastatic lymph nodes. More recently, Dr. Pagel has been developing OE-EPR (Electron Paramagnetic Resonance) imaging that can measure oxygen pressure (pO2) in the tumor microenvironment. The CAMEL group has combined OE MSOT with DCE MSOT, and is currently combining OE-EPR with DCE EPR, to provide a single scan session that can measure multiple biomarkers of the tumor vasculature. These hypoxia imaging studies are used to evaluate radiotherapy and radiosensitizers, and also assess pre-treatments that reduce hypoxia to improve tumor control with immunotherapy.
Tumor Vascular Perfusion: The CAMEL Group has invented new methods that analyze Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DCE) MRI that can measure tumor vascular perfusion (RKrans and kep). More specifically, our group has developed the Linear Reference Region Model that avoids the need for an Arterial Input Function, relaxes requirements for fat temporal resolution, and improves precision. In addition, our group has developed DCE MSOT that can measure tumor vascular perfusion, and we are developing a similar DCE EPR method. Measurements of vascular perfusion are used to evaluate vascular disrupting agents and radiotherapies. Also, our DCE imaging methods are combined with our methods for imaging tumor hypoxia, and therefore apply to studies of radiotherapy and immunotherapy
Enzyme Activity: Dr. Pagel pioneered the development of catalyCEST MRI that can detect enzyme activities within in vivo tumor models. More recently, CAMEL is developing MSOT contrast agents that can detect enzyme activities, which can also be used to improve tumor detection during surgery.
Education & Training
PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1993