The Molecular Imaging Laboratory, which is part of the Sloan-Kettering Institute’s Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program, is focused on both the development of new molecular probes for cross-sectional, multimodality imaging (MRI, PET and optical) and translational research in molecular imaging. This ranges from basic science to clinical translation, as well as clinical molecular imaging observations to basic science tumor analysis. The objective of the research is to further improve our understanding of in vivo tumor biology and interaction with its microenvironment, with the ultimate goal of early tumor detection and characterization and the development of imaging as a prognostic, predictive, and early-response biomarker.
Our laboratory is also working on integrating molecular imaging, pathology, genomics, and molecular markers with anatomic multimodality imaging to promote the field of integrated diagnostics and gain further insight into various aspects of tumor biology and heterogeneity (both spacial and temporal) that may in turn be predictive of treatment response or resistance. Our research is also at the forefront of radiogenomics – and we are evaluating how multimodality/multiplexing technology can advance our knowledge of tumor biology and how we can use imaging as a surrogate biomarker in clinical trials; ultimately, we would like to develop a field of theranostics that will further enhance clinical trial design.
In the field of prostate imaging, our laboratory has established new clinical paradigms for the use of MRI in the management of prostate cancer. Our team is also focused on the use of multiparametric quantitative imaging using new functional and metabolic methods, such as dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI), diffusion-weighted MRI (DW-MRI), and MR spectroscopy as predictive biomarkers in patients considered for active surveillance of clinically low-risk prostate cancer. In addition, we are conducting studies involving high-resolution magic angle spinning (HR-MAS) spectroscopy of prostate cancer tissue, findings of which can be translated into clinical spectroscopy. Furthermore, there are ongoing efforts in the development of novel molecular imaging contrast agents.
Our laboratory is dedicated to developing the careers of young investigators working on their path towards independence. Our trainees are supported in part by two molecular imaging training programs: the postdoctoral R25T Molecular Imaging: Training for Oncology program funded by the National Cancer Institute, and ET CURE (Emerging Technologies Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences), an undergraduate training program in molecular imaging/nanotechnology with The City College of New York (PI: Karen Hubbard), sponsored by the NCI’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. We are committed to training the future leaders of tomorrow who will be the front-runners of an integrated, individualized, and patient-centered health service.