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Anna V. Moore, Ph.D.

Dr. Anna Moore has recently joined MSU as the Director of Precision Health Program and Assistant Dean at the College of Human Medicine after conducting research as a Professor of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School for over 26 years. Her research is aimed at developing theranostic agents for imaging and therapy in cancer and diabetes.

Image-guided cancer therapy

Dr. Moore’s research interests are directed at development and use of in vivo molecular imaging technologies as indispensable preclinical and clinical tool to unravel complex biological pathways and pathogenic mechanisms in various diseases including cancer. Early in her research she recognized the need to use imaging for detection of specific alterations in genomic makeup paving the way to personalized medicine approach. Furthermore, as imaging was becoming a powerful tool in biomedical research, her work has shifted from developing target-specific contrast agents to utilizing these agents for direct delivery of therapeutic drugs.

In a search for realizing the dream of Precision Medicine Dr. Moore’s team was the first to utilize magnetic resonance imaging, a widely used clinical modality for monitoring the delivery of siRNAs to tumors. These small oligonucleotides have been recognized as potentially powerful therapeutic tools, however effective delivery had hampered their utility. Dr. Moore’s group was the first to demonstrate the feasibility of MR imaging for delivery of siRNA in tumors using magnetic nanoparticles, and effective gene silencing. This work, published in Nature Medicine in 2007 has been cited over 650 times.

As metastatic cancer continues to be the leading cause of mortality from cancer, Dr. Moore and her team started looking deeper into the events causing metastatic spread and discovering tools to prevent and stop it. We know now that microRNAs play a major role in cancer initiation in progression including metastatic cancer. Dr. Moore’s team has recently discovered that one specific micoRNA (miR-10b) is responsible for viability of metastatic cells. This discovery led to creation of an image-guided theranostic nanodrug targeting miR-10 that showed complete eradication of established lymph node and lung metastases in mice with breast cancer. In this approach the miRNAs that are implicated in breast cancer metastasis can be targeted with image-guidance and the therapeutic effect can be monitored over time. In addition, the results of this study demonstrated virtually complete prevention of lymph node metastasis formation in breast cancer and arrest of further metastatic dissemination. These studies received multiple grant awards from the NIH as well as national and international recognition. To accelerate clinical translation of these studies Dr. Moore and colleagues formed a company TransCode Therapeutics Inc, which goal is to bring this powerful anti-metastatic drug to patients.

Imaging and therapeutic studies in diabetes

Dr. Moore’s research in cancer imaging and therapy lead to realization that these powerful diagnostic and treatment tools can be applied to other, previously underserved areas of biomedicine. As such, type 1 and type 2 diabetes represent the areas where imaging is crucial for detection, diagnosis, prognosis and guided therapeutics. Dr. Moore saw the utility of her powerful molecular imaging technologies for early diagnosis, monitoring and treatment in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and has made significant advances that have led the field, and are now offering hope for patients suffering from diabetes. Dr. Moore established the previously non-existent field of imaging and image-guided therapy of the diabetic pancreas and continues as a leader in this area of investigation. Her systematic approach for developing imaging and image-guided therapies for diabetes included developing of beta-cell specific imaging agents, imaging of islet inflammation and siRNA theranostics for islet transplantation. Recently, in line with developing Precision Medicine program, Dr. Moore embarked on investigation of genetic and epigenetic factors that govern diabetes progression. Moreover, she is developing an area of early and continuous monitoring of genetic alterations in patients with diabetes, which is part of a bigger Precision Health program aimed not only at treating patients but preventing disease in healthy population. These studies have received national and international recognition and have been supported by multiple funding agencies including NIH, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and American Diabetes Association.


Selected publications:


  • Medarova Z, Pham W, Farrar C, Petkova V, Moore A. In vivo imaging of siRNA delivery and silencing in tumors. Nat Med. 2007 Mar;13(3):372-7. PubMed PMID: 17322898.
  • Yigit MV, Ghosh SK, Kumar M, Petkova V, Kavishwar A, Moore A*, Medarova Z*. Context-dependent differences in miR-10b breast oncogenesis can be targeted for the prevention and arrest of lymph node metastasis. Oncogene. 2013 Mar 21;32(12):1530-8. PubMed PMID: 22580603; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3721144.
  • Yoo B, Kavishwar A, Roos A, Wang P, Tabassum DP, Polyak K, Barteneva N, Petkova V, Pantazopoulos P, Tena A, Moore A*, Medarova Z*. Combining miR-10b-targeted nanotherapy with low-dose doxorubicin elicits durable regressions of metastatic breast cancer. Cancer Res. 2015 Oct 15;75(20):4407-4415. PubMed PMID: 26359455; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4609288.
  • Yoo B, Kavishwar A, Wang P, Ross A, Pantazopoulos P, Dudley M, Moore A*, Medarova Z*: Therapy targeted to the metastatic niche is effective in a model of stage IV breast cancer. Sci Rep 2017;7:45060 PMID:28322342; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC5359550.



  • Kavishwar A, Medarova Z, Moore A. Unique sphingomyelin patches are targets of a beta-cell-specific antibody. J Lipid Res. 2011 Sep;52(9):1660-71. PubMed PMID: 21747097; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3151686.
  • Medarova Z, Greiner DL, Ifediba M, Dai G, Bolotin E, Castillo G, Bogdanov A, Kumar M, Moore A. Imaging the pancreatic vasculature in diabetes models. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2011 Nov;27(8):767-72. PubMed PMID: 22069257; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3721374
  • Wang P, Yigit MV, Ran C, Ross A, Wei L, Dai G, Medarova Z, Moore A. A theranostic small interfering RNA nanoprobe protects pancreatic islet grafts from adoptively transferred immune rejection. Diabetes. 2012 Dec;61(12):3247-54. PubMed PMID: 22923469; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3501867.
  • Wang P, Yoo B, Yang J, Zhang X, Ross A, Pantazopoulos P, Dai G, Moore A. GLP-1R-targeting magnetic nanoparticles for pancreatic islet imaging. Diabetes. 2014 May;63(5):1465-74. PubMed PMID: 24458362; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4178324
  • Wang P, Schuetz C, Vallabhajosyula P, Medarova Z, Tena A, Wei L, Yamada K, Deng S, Markmann JF, Sachs DH, Moore A. Monitoring of allogeneic islet grafts in nonhuman primates using MRI. Transplantation. 2015 Mar 24;PubMed PMID: 25806407
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