The overall goal of the Imaging Core is to develop, optimize, implement, and validate quantitative, surrogate predictive biomarkers of: 1) drug target engagement, 2) the type of antitumor effect induced by a particular treatment, and 3) the response of breast cancer to treatment. The Imaging Core will offer a full range of small animal functional, anatomical, and molecular imaging techniques, including magnetic resonance, computed tomography, ultrasound, fluorescence, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Breast SPORE investigators will also have access to novel probe development resources, including high-throughput, diversity-oriented synthesis capabilities suitable for identifying novel imaging compounds, as well as the resources of the state-of-the-art Vanderbilt University Research Radiochemlstry Core. Novel and established molecular imaging techniques will be offered which are specifically tailored for assessing quantitative metrics of cellular metabolism and proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, receptor expression and inflammation. As in the previous funding cycle, the Imaging Core will continue to partner with other Cores in the SPORE and forge new connections with the VUIIS such that services are highly cost-effective. To provide this support to the projects, the Imaging Core has identified the following three specific alms: 1. Foster collaborations between experts in advanced, quantitative non-invasive imaging and breast cancer research. In particular, the Core will support experts in all major imaging modalities, with particular emphasis on positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 2. Develop, validate, and provide non-invasive imaging metrics of drug distribution, drug target engagement, tumor initiation, progression and treatment response for Breast SPORE investigators. 3. Provide support for analysis of quantitative imaging data, development of customized imaging protocols, including the co-registration and integration of multiple imaging modalities, histology and other in situ assays, and the development of novel imaging biomarkers.
By providing the highest quality, most rigorous assessment of breast cancer treatment response and determining which method(s) are most appropriate for clinical translation, we will be able to provide SPORE projects with imaging approaches to address basic and clinical science questions that can be readily incorporated into early clinical trials.
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