Contrast Agent Molecular Engineering Laboratory (CAMEL)
Mark Pagel, Ph.D.
Professor, Cancer Systems Imaging
The Contrast Agent Molecular Engineering Laboratory (CAMEL) has developed molecular imaging methods that evaluate biomarkers of the tumor microenvironment. We have developed a MRI method that measures extra cellular pH, which can assess tumor acidosis that causes resistance to immunotherapy, and can evaluate metabolic changes in tumors caused by chemotherapy. More recently, we have combined PET and MRI to evaluate the combination of glucose uptake and lactic acid production caused by upregulated glycolysis in tumors. We have also developed and patented analysis methods that improve the evaluation of vascular perfusion using MRI and MSOT imaging methods, which can assess the potential of drug delivery to a solid tumor. We have developed MRI and MSOT methods that detect enzyme activities within tumors, which are responsible for driving metastasis and can be used to evaluate early response to anti-cancer treatment. Finally, we are implementing methods with MSOT that assess tumor hypoxia.
CAMEL develops molecular imaging methods that evaluate biomarkers of the tumor microenvironment, including extracellular acidosis, hypoxia, enzyme activity, and vascular perfusion. We specialize in the synthesis and characterization of chemical contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), PET/MRI, and MultiSpectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT). We develop advanced acquisition and analysis methods that are tailored for each contrast agent and tumor biomarker. Our research spans “bench to bedside,” including basic science investigations, small animal imaging studies, and clinical translation.
CAMEL is led by Marty Pagel, Ph.D., who has developed a
multidisciplinary career in chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical
engineering, radiology, and cancer research. Each of these research
areas is incorporated into CAMEL’s research strategy. The CAMEL group
includes trainees from a variety of backgrounds who are developing
careers as independent, collaborative principal investigators. Dr.
Pagel provides strong coaching and guidance for career development.
Finally, Dr. Pagel supports the molecular imaging research community
by organizing meetings and conferences, reviewing grant applications
and manuscripts, and facilitating academia-industry
Mark Pagel, Ph.D., is the professor in Cancer Systems Imaging at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
Read more about Dr. Pagel here.
Development and Dissemination of Clinical CEST MRI Acquisition and Analysis Method for Cancer Imaging Applications
Principal Investigator: M. Pagel
Performance Period: 4/01/2019 – 3/31/2024
Summary: This project will continue the clinical translation of acidoCEST MRI that evaluates tumor acidosis, which can improve clinical cancer diagnoses and assessments of early responses to treatment.
Measuring Tumor Acidosis with PET/MRI Contrast Agents
Principal Investigator: M. Pagel
Performance Period: 04/01/2019 – 03/31/2021
Summary: This project will develop new methods that quantitatively measure extracellular pH (pHe) in the tumor microenvironment to assess tumor acidosis.
Cancer Systems Imaging
The Cancer Systems Imaging (CSI) the Diagnostic Imaging division. CSI focuses on molecular imaging, functional genomics and throughput with a focus on mechanism-based fundamental, preclinical and clinical-translation studies of cancer.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's Diagnostic Imaging division has more than a dozen technologies available for radiologists to visualize tumors in both bone and soft tissue. From standard radiology to advanced techniques that can view the tiniest blood vessels, our radiologists take diagnosis, tumor staging and treatment planning to a whole new level.