Walczak, Piotr

Professor, Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine

University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA

Focus area 1: monitoring of drug biodistribution using MRI. In collaboration with Drs Monica Pearl and Miroslaw Janowski we have developed technology based on MR imaging facilitating manipulation of the blood brain barrier and intra-arterial targeting of chemotherapeutic agents at high precision and selectively to the desired brain region. 

Focus area 2: use of stem cells to reduce brain damage caused by chemotherapy. My lab has shown that transplantation of glial restricted progenitors are capable of restoring white matter damage and we hypothesize that neurological side effects following chemotherapy could be to large extent alleviated by transplantation of these progenitor cells.    

Focus area 3:  Modeling human brain tumors in animals with intact immune systems. With an effort to develop more clinically relevant tumor models, we have established protocols for inducing specific tolerance to human brain tumors including DIPG and GBM in mice. Such models are useful for developing immunotherapies and studying biology of human brain tumors in the context of normal immunity.

Tumor type: DIPG, Medulloblastoma, GBM.

Drug Delivery System: Intra-arterial MRI-guided injection / manipulation of blood brain barrier.

Existing collaborations relevant to drug delivery

Dr. Tim Magnus, Professor of Neurology, University of Hamburg. Main goal of this collaboration is to use single domain antibodies (nanobodies) for intrarterial targeting across the blood brain barrier.

Publications relevant to drug delivery

Semenkow S, Li S, Kahlert UD, Raabe EH, Xu J, Arnold A, Janowski M, Oh BC, Brandacher G, Bulte JWM, Eberhart CG, Walczak P. An immunocompetent mouse model of human glioblastoma. Oncotarget. 2017 May 15. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.17851. PMID:28574813.

Song X, Walczak P, He X, Yang X, Pearl M, Bulte JWM, Pomper MG1, McMahon MT, Janowski M. Salicylic acid analogues as chemical exchange saturation transfer MRI contrast agents for the assessment of brain perfusion territory and blood–brain barrier opening after intra-arterial infusion. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism.  Published online before print March 15, 2016, doi: 10.1177/0271678X16637882.

Janowski M, Walczak P, Pearl MS. Predicting and optimizing the territory of blood brain barrier opening by superselective intra-arterial cerebral infusion under dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI guidance. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism 36(3): 569-575 (2016). 

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