This is a renewal application for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) R25T training grant program, "Molecular Imaging: Training for Oncology" (MITO), which began in 2002. In the last five years, molecular imaging has been established as an outstanding tool for fostering rapid progress in laboratory discovery as well as uniquely individualized patient care. The goal of our program is to train a new generation of imaging researchers, who are sufficiently facile in both modern cancer biology and imaging techniques to lead the rapid development of molecular imaging as a tool for laboratory discovery and individualized clinical care in oncology. The program is managed by an internal advisory committee composed of clinical and basic cancer researchers with experience in graduate medical education in oncology. A distinguished external advisory board composed of leading molecular imaging researchers provides continual feedback and advice. MSKCC offers a unique environment as one of the leading clinical cancer centers in the world that is closely integrated with a research institution (Sloan-Kettering Institute [SKI]). It has an extensive molecular imaging infrastructure, as well as multiple oncology directed PO1s, SPOREs and RO1s with integral imaging components that stress the multimodality biologic imaging of cancer. These research programs provide fertile ground for training and selecting projects for trainees. Mentors are drawn from a distinguished faculty of NCI-supported cancer researchers. Our training program makes use of relationships we have established between the molecular imaging group and basic laboratory programs in cancer biology, tumor immunology, molecular pathology, and molecular pharmacology. It also makes use of translational programs that have been initiated at MSKCC over the last five years, in image-guided intervention, clinical PET research, cyclotron radiochemistry and advanced image analysis including biomarker assessment. A specialized curriculum includes an individualized research program of basic, translational or clinical interdisciplinary research and the relevant molecular biology, research methodology, and advanced imaging methods. Tri-institutional graduate programs from Cornell Medical College, SKI and Rockefeller University provide didactic training. Our diversity enhancement plan offers equal opportunities for minorities and women and includes a MITO Minority Recruitment Committee, participation of the MSKCC Diversity officer, and leadership from the CCNY/MSKCC Partnership. Both basic science and clinical trainees will be recruited. A plan is in place to facilitate placement of our trainees as junior faculty in molecular imaging programs at academic institutions across the country.
Molecular imaging in oncology permits noninvasive detection of the molecules and molecular events that are fundamental to cancer oncogenesis and maintenance of the neoplastic state. Molecular imaging thus has the potential to allow for more rapid progress in fundamental laboratory discovery and to foster uniquely individualized patient care in the clinic. This is an application for a grant to train a new generation of basic and clinical researchers to perform basic, translational and clinical cancer research within the rapidly expanding field of molecular imaging.
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