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Research Programs

Discipline-based Programs


Cancer Imaging

The overall goals of this working group are to provide novel in vivo imaging tools to the larger DF/HCC community to accelerate basic science, clinical translation, and clinical cancer care. Specifically, this working group develops novel molecular imaging tools, facilitates experimental mouse imaging across campus, rapidly translates most promising technologies to the clinic, and provides a platform and infrastructure to incorporate imaging into clinical cancer trials.

A cornerstone of the Cancer Imaging Program is the Center for Molecular Imaging Research (http://cmir.mgh.harvard.edu) at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the largest molecular imaging centers in the United States. CMIR provides a multidisciplinary research environment that spans the gamut from target discovery (genomics, proteomics, data mining) to chemical synthesis of novel imaging agents, along with genetic engineering, mouse imaging, and clinical discovery programs. Other affiliated programs include the Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence at MIT and Harvard (http://cmir.mgh.harvard.edu/nano), clinical imaging programs at DF/HCC-affiliated teaching hospitals (MGH, BWH, DFCI, BIDMC, CH), as well as other laboratories across DF/HCC. The aims of the Cancer Imaging Program are as follows:

  1. Development of novel molecular imaging agents
    The goal of this aim is to develop novel imaging agents using chemical biology, other library approaches, and rational design. It tests and validates novel agents using mouse models of cancer in close collaboration with other programs and laboratories at DF/HCC. An intricate aspect of this initiative is biomarker discovery and validation relevant to imaging agents.
  2. Provide state-of-the art mouse imaging resources
    The goal of this aim is to develop and provide state-of-the art mouse imaging resources to the larger DF/HCC community. While some resources already exist across different institutions, this program will provide support for distribution of imaging agents, protocol development, and image analysis. Previously developed resources include MIPortal, a large scale web-based distribution and analysis tool for DICOM images (http://cmir-miportal.mgh.harvard.edu/SyngoWeb).
  3. Clinical discovery and validation of new imaging techniques
    The goal of this aim is to perform clinical trials of most promising imaging agents using PET, MRI, and optical imaging technologies. Another aspect of the program is to test novel interventional procedures and other diagnostic imaging systems.
  4. Imaging in clinical trials
    This program will provide planning and support to incorporate existing imaging techniques into ongoing and future clinical trials at DF/HCC. The group works closely with the phase 1 trials group. Another aspect of this aim is to provide tumor metrics through a Tumor metrics core (Gordon, Barrish).