Professor Tony Ng
Professor Ng currently leads Tumour Immunology imaging project within the Breast Cancer Now Unit at KCL. He is also the Principal Investigator and Coordinator for the KCL-UCL Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre. The central mission of both the Tumour Immunology imaging project within the Breast Cancer Now Unit at KCL, and that of the KCL and UCL Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre is to deliver a coherent & translationally oriented imaging-genomic-protein network combination approach, that his team has pioneered in developing over the recent years, to individualise cancer treatment. The Ng laboratory has a unique mix of expertise in Medicine, Immunology, Cancer cell biology (particular focus on the mechanisms of cancer cell migration), Biochemistry (study of signal transduction in cancer cells), Optical Imaging and Cell Biophysics. Specifically, the Ng laboratory has adopted a multidisciplinary approach to understand the cancer metastatic cascade. They have established in live and fixed tumour cell systems (including xenografts), imaging-based methods that can monitor post-translational modifications and protein interactions both in space and time. The lab has combined the use of fluorescence energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescence life time imaging (FLIM) techniques, together with bioinformatics and network modelling to monitor biochemical events and therefore protein function in vitro, in normal and tumour cells. The same methods, plus endoscopic techniques, have also been applied to intravital imaging for the longitudinal tracking of cancer cells and the characterisation of their receptor activity in live cancer models. Most recently he has also expanded his imaging repertoire to the development of radionuclide imaging tracers against targeted molecules (J Nuclear Med 2014 and 2015; British journal of Radiology 2014).
Protein-protein interactions, imaged by FRET-FLIM and other optical techniques, together with mathematical modelling are being investigated as a means of providing potential molecular diagnostic tools for patient prognostication and prediction of response to therapies. Such techniques allow the observation of post-translational modifications, protein conformation and protein interactions at the subcellular level far beyond the resolution of conventional imaging. Imaging protein-protein interactions improves understanding of the function of genetic aberrations leading to malignant phenotypes and mechanisms to resistance during therapies. For clinical translation, his team has pioneered the visualisation of protein interactions (esp. oncogenic receptoir rewiring) and conformational changes that are critical for cancer signaling pathways in preclinical models; as well as in patient-derived cancer tissues for establishing in vitro/companion diagnostics.
T Ng has a vast amount of experience in working cooperatively with colleagues and leaders in a wide variety of disciplines (imaging, cell biology, oncology, bioinformatics, surgery, pathology, genomics, as well as physical science disciplines such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering). The vision for the KCL and UCL Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre he coordinates is to develop novel imaging (PET and MRI) technologies and use them in combination with clinicopathological assessment, genomics and in-house nanoscopic imaging (Nano Letters 2011 and 2013) to measure protein interactions in the context of neoadjuvant trials. In such trial context, the tissue imaging (FLIM histology) approach that we have developed and refined over the years is beginning to reveal ErbB receptor rewiring as a mechanism of resistance in human tumours under selection pressure such as cetuximab (Science Signalling 2014).