Molecular Imaging Program

Overview

The Center for Quantitative Cancer Imaging was founded with the goal of providing researchers, clinicians, and the people of Utah with state of the art molecular imaging technologies to enable high quality research and assist clinicians in diagnosing disease and monitoring therapy.

Using these molecular imaging technologies will provide "personalized medicine" for each and every patient, while obtaining biologic information non-invasively. Through PET imaging, it is possible to monitor the progression of a disease over time rather than requiring patients to undergo surgery or tissue sampling.

One goal of the Center is to develop non-invasive imaging techniques that may identify biological parameters of disease. This will enable clinicians to improve therapeutic treatment as well as monitor response to subsequent treatment. For example, a complementary set of imaging techniques can characterize the blood supply, growth parameters, metabolic characteristics, and cell surface receptors of a tumor. These biologic parameters can be used to help select the most appropriate therapy based on biologically relevant information. Once the therapy is selected it can be assessed and monitored early in the course of therapy to assure that the patient is receiving the most appropriate therapy.

In those instances where the biologic parameters are not behaving as expected, another course of therapy can be chosen thus assuring that each and every patient is receiving the most appropriate therapy for their particular tumor. This "personalized" early therapeutic monitoring of therapy will then correlate with tumor response and can be used to predict a final treatment outcome. Currently, the outcome of a treatment is only known at the end, or even long after the end of a particular treatment course. The goal is to assure early in the course of a particular therapy that there is an appropriate biologic response. Using the results of these various imaging tests, it will be possible to pre-select the most appropriate treatment, modify the drugs, interventions, or therapeutic procedures during the therapy of a patient.

The University of Utah offers many unique features for the development of the concept of "personalized medicine." This includes the University's strength in

  1. Genetic research
  2. High-Risk Cancer Clinics
  3. Utah Population Database

The integration of molecular imaging into these resources is a natural fit in the development of "personalized medicine."

The Center has been successful over the past several years in obtaining extramural support for many projects of interest to members of the program and others within the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah and the University of Utah. Please view the following links and this will provide an overview of the current research projects and clinical trials.

  • Recent Accomplishments
  • Clinical Trials
  • Grant Funding