In 1998 it was becoming increasing clear that a significant gulf existed between clinicians, biologists, engineers and chemists with regard to the future impact of biological molecular imaging on clinical applications. As a result of a partnership between the NCI and the California Institute of Technology, Imaging in 2020 was established to bridge this gulf. This proposal requests partial support for the 7th Imaging in 2020 gathering. The format of the meeting was modeled after the highly successful Gordon Research Conferences where an intimate group of approximately 100 researchers from clinicians to basic scientists assemble for 4.5 days to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing molecular imaging and its role in conquering cancer. The overall goal of Imaging in 2020 is to catalyze this communication by laying the technical foundation for assembling so many investigators from varying disciplines and by providing a format that is intentionally less structured than the traditional scientific meeting, allowing for extensive, meaningful interactions in a casual, comfortable environment. We hope to foster the development of enduring associations that will lead to innovative solutions and applications. One of the explicit goals of Imaging in 2020 is to bring together investigators from diverse backgrounds. These individuals would not normally interact at the professional meetings that they typically attend. Since 1999, Imaging in 2020 has a proven track record of stimulating cross-fertilization of ideas and concepts, and generating new collaborations across subject matter areas as well as geographical across institutions. Typically, there are 24-26 speakers (no concurrent sessions) with set time limits for their presentations. The discussion time is equal to the presentation time and this format encourages new collaborations. For example, at the first meeting in 1999, several investigators from 7 different institutions and 5 departments founded the basis of what became the Society of Molecular Imaging. In a very short time, this society boasts more then 1000 members representing clinical to preclinical investigators, and basic scientists from chemistry, biology and engineering.
In 2011, Imaging in 2020 will explore new links between molecular imaging and therapy. Imaging - especially molecular imaging - will play a critical role in the creation, monitoring and control of new, highly potent interventions. With new therapeutic technologies such as RNA interference, nanotherapeutics and stem cells entering the clinic, molecular imaging is increasingly required for design, optimization and validation. Discussions will address advances in imaging modalities from MRI to PET, optical and ultrasound imaging, fundamental advances in important therapies and the future role of chemistry in imaging.