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Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging Research

Director ad interim: Marshall Hicks, M.D.

This center will be a unique program that brings together the expertise of GE Healthcare and researchers to create new ways of diagnosing cancer and cardiac disease and selecting appropriate therapy.

Better Detection of Cancer & Heart Disease 

Current imaging processes can identify diseased organs, but often not until the disease is advanced and harder to treat. Likewise, because small changes that reflect early response to therapy cannot be easily distinguished, it can be difficult to rapidly determine whether a treatment is effective or needs to be changed.

The center's researchers and physicians will overcome these problems by developing and applying new, more sensitive molecular imaging agents for positron-emission tomography (PET), contrast computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques.

GE Healthcare will contribute sophisticated technology and instrumentation, including a cyclotron to produce radionuclides. Scientists will use probes to seek out cancer cells with specific molecular abnormalities and image them with PET scanning and other technologies.

Rapid Measurement of Treatment Effectiveness 

Advances in imaging allow physicians to select appropriate treatments and determine within hours or days (instead of many months) the effectiveness of cancer therapy.

For instance, gefitinib (Iressa®), a new drug for treatment of several cancers, acts by blocking a molecule overactive in some but not all cancer patients. Only those patients with the overactive molecule will respond to gefitinib. Imaging agents created by Juri Gelovani, M.D., Ph.D, home in on the overactive molecule and so can identify patients most likely to benefit from gefitinib. Using such labeled molecules, it is also possible to determine whether a drug has reached and interacted with the molecule it blocks and to accurately estimate the correct drug dose for each patient, a trial-and-error process until now.

Collaboration

This collaborative project includes support from the Texas Enterprise Fund, GE Healthcare, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the UT System, as well as MD Anderson.

How to Help Innovative Research - The institute's interconnected programs offer you a chance to help at an historic moment in the long search for answers to cancer. For more information, you may send a request to mccombsinstitute@mdanderson.org.


© 2013 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center