Molecular Imaging Probes

Contact person: Dra. Beatriz Salinas

Molecular imaging takes advantage of the traditional diagnostic imaging techniques and introduces molecular imaging probes to determine the expression of indicative molecular markers at different stages of diseases and disorders. Molecular imaging probe is an agent used to visualize, characterize and quantify biological processes in living systems. These agents typically comprises a signal agent, a targeting ligand (small molecules, peptides, peptidomimetics and antibodies) and, in some cases, a linker connecting the targeting moiety and the signal agent.

Due to the emerging role of this probes in molecular imaging, one of the main research line of the group is the design, synthesis and evaluation of new imaging probes (radiotracers, nanoparticles and optical probes) for the specific detection of biomarkers or biochemical processes.  

The aim of the Molecular Probes lab is the development and validation of novel imaging agents (radiotracers, optical probes and magnetic nanoparticles) for the diagnosis, prognosis and follow up treatment of diseases like melanoma (oncology) , infective endocarditis (infectious diseases) or atheroma plaque (cardiovascular)

Currently the main lines of research of the group are focused on two main fields:

  1. Synthesis and evaluation of novel PET and SPECT radiotracer for the specific and selective detection of Staphylococcal infections.  Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a clinically aggressive Gram-positive bacterium that is one of the most frequent causes of human infection, both outside and inside hospitals. The variability in the clinical presentation of S aureus infections requires a diagnostic strategy that should be both sensitive and specific at early stages, in order to allow for a prompt treatment. We have design Staphylococcal specific imaging agents for the non-invasive detection of bacterial foci based on different biomolecules specific of the bacterial structure.
  2. Development of chemical tools for the non-invasive assessment of natural exosomes by molecular imaging. Exosomes are small particles, 30-140 nm, of endosomal origin and defined by a membrane. In recent years, several research studies have shown the active role of exosomes secreted by cancer cells in processes of oncogenesis, disease progression, metastasis, angiogenesis, remodelling of extracellular matrix, immune evasion, chemoresistance and establishment of the pre-metastatic niche. Currently one of our main lines of research is the design of new approaches for the radioactive and optical labelling of natural exosomes for their in vitro evaluation and in vivo tracking by non-invasive imaging techniques.  

Selected Articles

  • A. Santos-Coquillat*, M.I. González*, A. Clemente-Moragón, M. González-Arjona, V. Albaladejo-García, H. Peinado,J. Muñoz, P. Embur, B. Ibañez, E. Oliver, M Desco, B. Salinas."Goat Milk Exosomes As Natural Nanoparticles for Detecting Inflammatory Processes By Optical Imaging" Small (in press) 2021
  • L. Gómez-Cid, ML. López-Donaire, D. Velasco, V. Martín, M.I.González, B. Salinas, L. Cussó, A. García, S.B. Bravo, ME. Fernández-Sántos, C. Elvira, J. Sierra, E. Arroba, R Bañares, L. Grigorian-Shamagian, F. Fernández-Avilés. "Cardiac Extracellular Matrix Hydrogel Enriched with Polyethylene Glycol Presents Improved Gelation Time and Increased On-Target Site Retention of Extracellular Vesicles". Int. J. Mol. Sci. 22(17), 9226, 2021.
  • M.I. González, M. González-Arjona, J. Vaquero, E Vázquez-Ogando, A. de Molina, H. Peinado, M. Desco, B. Salinas. “Covalently labeled fluorescent exosomes for in vitro and in vivo applications”. Biomedicines. 9(1), 81. 2021
  • M.I. González, P. Martín-Duque, M. Desco, B. Salinas. “Radioactive Labeling of Milk-Derived Exosomes with 99mTc and In Vivo Tracking by SPECT Imaging”. Nanomaterials. 10 - 6, 2020
  • A. Lamas-Paz, L. Morán, J. Peng, B. Salinas, N Lopez-Alcántara, S. Sydor, R. Vilchez-Vargas, I. Asensio, F. Hao, K. Zheng, B. Martín-Adrados, L. Moreno, A. Cogolludo, M. Gómez del Moral, L. Bechmann, E. Martinez-Naves, J. Vaquero, R. Bañares, Y. A Nevzorova, F. J. Cubero “Intestinal epithelial cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) modulate hepatic injury via the gut-liver axis during acute alcohol injury”. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 11, 1738. 2020
  • J. Martinez Milla, C. Galán Arriola, M. Carnero, J Cobiella, D Perez-Camargo, V Bautista, M Rigol, N Solanes, R Villena Gutierrez, M Lobo, J Matéos, J P. l Vilchez Tschischke, B Salinas, L Cussó, G Lopez, V Fuster, M Desco, J Sánchez-Martinez, B Ibañez.Translational large animal model of hibernating myocardium: characterization by serial multimodal imaging”. Basic Research in Cardiology., 40, 3680-3680. 2020
  • B. Salinas*, M. Guembe*, L. Cussó, M. Kestler, J Guinea, M Desco, P. Muñoz, E. Bouza. Assessment of the Anti-Biofilm Effect of Micafungin in an Animal Model of Catheter-Related Candidemia. Medical Mycology, 2019
  • S. Peña Zalbidea; A Huang; H Kavunja; B. Salinas; M. Desco; C. Drake; P. Woodruff; J. J. Vaquero; B. Swarts. Chemoenzymatic radiosynthesis of 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-d-trehalose ([18F]-2-FDTre): A PET radioprobe for in vivo tracing of trehalose metabolism. Carbohydrate Research. 472, pp. 16 - 22. Elsevier, 2019.
  •  A. Burillo, N. Diaz-Perez, P. Escribano, A. Gomez-Lopez, B. Salinas, P. Muñoz, E. Bouza. A new cause of false positive voriconazole levels: watch your collection tubes! Journal of Chromatography B. 1092, pp 328-331. 2018

Funded Grants

  • Salinas B. (2022-2023). Selective oncological theragnostic based on radioactively labeled exosomes (TheragnEso). PRISMAP- European Organization for Nuclear Research.
  • Salinas B. (2021-2024). Imagen molecular de la infección por Clostridiodes difficile. Fundación Ramón Areces.
  • Desco M. (2021-2024) Desarrollo de un biomarcador de neuroimagen para detectar el estado procoagulante en la enfermedad de Alzheimer. EU joing JPND
  • Salina B. (2021-2023) Monitorización de tratamiento y respuesta a infecciones estafilocócicas mediante imagen inmunoPET empleando trazadores específicos. Instituto de Salud Carlos III. 
  • Salinas B. (2020-2021). Proteínas selectivas de estafilococos radiomarcadas para el diagnóstico y seguimiento de infecciones bacterianas. Fundación para la innovación y la prospectiva en salud en España (FIPSE).
  • Salinas B & Kossatz S. (2020-2021) Entwicklung von neuen Ansätzen der Molekularen Bildgebung zur Diagnose und Behandlung von Tumoren und Infektionskrankheiten. Bayerische Forschungsalianz/ Bavarian Funding Programme for the Initiation of International Projects (BayIntAn).
  • Salinas B. (2019-2020) Nuevos métodos de detección de procesos infecciosos mediante imagen nuclear. Healthstart-Comunidad de Madrid
  • Desco M. (2019-2022). Nuevas aplicaciones de la nanotecnología en la enfermedad hepática crónica (NanoLiver-CM). Y2018-NMT2020. Comunidad de Madrid
  • Desco M. (2018-2022) Red Madrileña de Nanomedicina en Imagen Molecular (RENIM-CM). S2017/BMD-3867 Comunidad de Madrid.
  • Salinas, B. and Desco M. (2017-2019) Diagnóstico de la bacteriemia por Gram positivos mediante nuevos trazadores PET selectivos. PI16/02037 Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
  • Fernánde-Avilés F. (2017-2019). The microbiome as a target for precision medicine. A frontier exploration from established to innovative indications. PIE16/00055. Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad

Funding Entities

           Instituto de Salud Carlos III - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

Fundación Ramón Areces                                PRISMAP : building a European network for medical radionuclides - Arronax  Nantes

Related Research Lines

Preclinic Research

Infection and Inflammation  Lorena Cussó