Small Animal Imaging Resource (SAIR)
Martin G. Pomper, Principle Investigator
Johns Hopkins University
Grant Number: U24CA092871
Small animal imaging is increasingly recognized as an important facet of preclinical and translational cancer research. Perhaps most significant among the clear advantages of imaging experimental animals is that physiology, pathology and novel phenotypes can be understood in the most relevant milieu - in an intact, living system. Less obvious is the fact that often the most significant leap forward that an already important biological study takes is when its results can be extended to the in vivo case - a necessary and often sufficient precondition for success in the clinic. The Johns Hopkins Small Animal Imaging Resource Program (SAIRP) labors to provide that translational step, generating the confidence necessary to move new cancer therapies to patients.
During the next funding period we will continue to complement the already strong magnetic resonance imaging program housed within the In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC) with the development of new radiopharmaceutical and optical imaging probes and techniques. We will also expand our mission in several important ways, namely by broadening our educational program to include neighboring institutions, by incorporating elements of industry - focusing on small companies interested in molecular imaging research - and we will offer our expertise in synthetic chemistry and probe development to the SAIRP consortium members who may benefit from it. We will do that while supporting 15 base grants that derive from 3 institutions, but primarily emanate from our own Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Although diverse, the base grants are loosely grouped into 3 themes: targets (reflecting the proliferation of high-throughput target identification methods), cells (due to the many and increasing gene and cell therapy protocols in the Cancer Center) and organs (taking advantage of the SPORE programs and other organ-based cancer research initiatives at Johns Hopkins). We will also continue to serve members of the Cancer Center and elsewhere in less formal ways, providing advice, education, training and pilot data that will further their own cancer research and concurrently enable the SAIRP to become a self-sustaining entity. Our ultimate goal is to move small animal imaging science forward - to the point where the incorporation of such imaging techniques becomes second nature in the daily practice of cancer researchers.