The Agar Laboratory develops and validates mass spectrometry imaging methodologies, and applies them to study neuro-oncology and to potentially guide the care of patients affected by brain cancer.
Imaging of drug distribution and metabolism
The limited penetrance of molecules through the blood-brain barrier induces additional complexity in the process of developing drugs targeting the central nervous system (CNS). Using MALDI mass spectrometry imaging, our laboratory in collaboration with Dr. Charles Stiles (Dept. of Cancer Biology, DFCI) can now rapidly assess the distribution and metabolism of drugs in the CNS of animal models without the use of molecular or radioactive probes.
Intraoperative stereotactic mass spectrometry imaging
In an effort to guide neurosurgical decision-making, our laboratory is integrating the use of mass spectrometry as an intraoperative molecular imaging approach. This transdisciplinary work is carried in close collaboration with groups from the departments of Neurosurgery, Radiology, and Pathology at BWH, as well as groups from Purdue University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The integrated platform should eventually provide real-time molecular assessment of tumor margins and diagnostic information to maximize tumor resection, while preserving surrounding healthy brain tissue.