Oncologic Imaging Program (OIP)

Program Co-Leaders: Samuel Achilefu, PhD, and Farrokh Dehdashti, MD

Overview:

The Oncologic Imaging Program (OIP) develops novel imaging agents and innovative methods for radionuclide, MR, ultrasound, optical, and hybrid imaging technologies, including photoacoustic imaging and theranostics. Application of artificial intelligence and informatics platforms to solve advanced oncologic imaging challenges demonstrates the evolving nature of OIP. OIP’s major goals are to facilitate new research initiatives, expand ongoing collaborations, mentor junior faculty, train students and fellows, and develop new methods to solve fundamental and clinical cancer imaging needs. These goals will be achieved through intra- and interprogrammatic activities and external partnerships. OIP’s highest priorities include developing imaging agents and technologies for detecting, diagnosing, and treating cancer, and expanding our knowledge of animal models used for basic cancer research.

Aims:

OIP activities will pursue four specific aims.

  1. Develop innovative imaging instruments and methods for diagnostic and theranostic applications and image-guided cancer therapies.
  2. Develop new molecular imaging agents and theranostics for accurate detection and, assessment of tumorspecific properties as well as for monitoring therapeutic response to improve treatment outcomes.
  3. Advance applications of quantitative imaging (QI) to elucidate the molecular mechanisms driving cancer progression and treatment responses via deep learning and radiomics.
  4. Educate, train, and mentor students, fellows, and junior faculty in cancer imaging research.

Facts and Figures:

  • The program currently includes 36 members from seven departments and three schools.
  • The extensive collaborative network of OIP members has resulted in more than $10.1 million in current grant awards, of which $5.4 million is NCI funding and $2.5 million is other peer-reviewed funding, and an additional $5 million in NIH S10 large instrument grant funding.
  • OIP research is anchored by one NCI-funded research center (Center for Multiple Myeloma Nanotherapy [U54 CA199092]), the institutionally supported Molecular Imaging Center (continuation of previous NCI-supported ICMIC [CA094056]), three NIH-supported Resource Centers (Gropler P41 EB025815, Marcus U24 CA204854, Shoghi U24 CA209837), and two imaging training grants (Culver T32 EB014855, Woodard T32 EB021955).
  • OIP members published more than 1,104 papers from 2014-2018 of which 28% are inter-programmatic, 26% are intra-programmatic and 10% with impact factor >10.
  • OIP research has been accelerated by recent installation of several new instruments, including PET/CT scanner (Siemens Vision), micro PET/CT, microPET/MR, GE SPINlab hyperpolarization unit, Oxford Instruments PulsarTM benchtop permanent-magnet-based 1.5-T NMR spectrometer, fluorescence molecular tomography system, multispectral optoacoustic tomography system, and IVIS-CT multimodal imaging system.