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Last Updated: 10/28/16

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Memorial Sloan Kettering Small Animal Imaging Research

Jason A. Koutcher, Principle Investigator
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Grant Number: U24CA083084

Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is focused on cancer diagnosis and enhancing responses of tumor to treatment with a goal of curing cancer. Animal studies of novel cancer therapeutics, while imperfect as a treatment model, have utility, both in studying therapeutic efficacy and toxicity. Because tumors are heterogenous, both between individuals and within a single tumor, non-invasive imaging studies are necessary to provide information about variation in response.

The main technologies we will focus on include nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), positron emission tomography (PET), and optical imaging, although other instruments are part of the application. The 3 imaging techniques chosen were based on the fact that they will provide complementary information. NMR imaging provides high spatial resolution but modest functional data. PET and NMR spectroscopy have poorer spatial resolution but provide valuable chemical/metabolic information. Optical imaging can provide very sensitive imaging tools to detect very small numbers of cells and thus these modalities have different strengths. We focus on enhancing the ancillary/support services to maximize information available from the different studies. Image analysis/correlation is important since in most studies, multiple imaging studies are done and it is critical to spatially align different or longitudinal studies. The Synthetic Chemistry and Vector Cores are critical for developing novel tools for exploring signaling pathways, and molecular events related to oncogenesis, treatment, cell death and host toxicity. Enhancement of imaging techniques to maintain state of the art methodologies, improving current techniques, and converting imaging into a more quantitative science is vital.

A wide range of oncologic issues will be studied to exploit these tools in developing newer and better targeted drugs, to minimize host toxicity, to develop standards of response criteria for cytostatic drugs and detect responses/failures earlier in the course of treatment. The range of projects studied include predicting tumor response to treatment, dosimetry for radioimmunotherapy, pharmacology, gene therapy and imaging, tumor metabolism, and evaluating responses to novel cytostatic agents. Research at MSKCC is translational and the goals of many of these projects are to be moved to the clinic in the shortest time feasible.

Leadership will come from the imaging scientists (Drs. Koutcher, Blasberg and Larson) and also from the molecular pharmacology group who will meet monthly along with a Technology Committee, to decide which problems are important and appropriate to be addressed by imaging technology.