Cancer-imaging center established
Just a few years ago, cancer patients had to endure painful exploratory
surgery so doctors could see where their tumors were. Today, they
only have to lie down in a scanner for a few minutes to reveal the
Tomorrows cancer patients will have medical-imaging scans
that will tell their doctors in minutes not only where the tumors
are, but also how fast the cancer is growing, what genes inside
their cancerous cells have mutated and gone out of control, what
treatments might kill the cancer most effectively and whether or
not they are responding to treatment.
Thats the vision of a new cancer-imaging center being launched
by the U-M Health System and the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI)
in Grand Rapids. Called the Center for Molecular Imaging, it will
combine cutting-edge imaging technologies with new knowledge about
the genes and proteins involved in cancer to develop ways of seeing
cancer as it begins, grows, spreads and is killed by new drugs.
The laboratory discoveries made by its scientists could accelerate
everything from diagnosis to the development of future medications.
The center is one of only five funded in a competition held by
the National Cancer Institute. It will build on the strengths and
use the facilities of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and VARI,
expanding research already in progress at both institutions and
the Ann Arbor biotechnology firm Molecular Therapeutics.
The NCI center grant of $10 million over five years is in addition
to a $10 million program grant U-M won last fall for brain-tumor
The advances in medical imaging and in cancer biology over
the past decade have been astounding, but combining the two promises
to increase our power to understand and defeat cancer, says
Brian Ross, professor of radiology at the U-M Medical School, who
is the centers principal investigator. Alnawaz Rehemtullah,
associate professor of radiation oncology, will co-direct the center.