Imaging performs vital roles in all aspects of clinical management of cancer including screening, diagnosis, interventions, monitoring of therapeutic response, and surveillance. The advent of effective imaging techniques has enabled great strides in understanding the biology and pathophysiology of cancer.
NCI has invested significant resources in imaging, both to understand cancer biology and to improve clinical management of cancer patients. This investment has stimulated considerable research activity in the fields of new imaging devices, imaging agent development, and image-guided intervention (IGI), systems, methodologies, and therapies. For example, investigators are developing interleukin-2 radiopharmaceuticals known to detect organ infiltrating T cells in human autoimmune diseases, a new PET imaging diagnostic assay to evaluate how well Sarcoma/Abelson tyrosine kinase inhibitors target tumors inside patients, and leveraging sophisticated computer vision, image analysis, computer assisted diagnostic and deformable registration tools to improve the delineation of tumors for targeted laser ablation therapy via multi-parametric MRI. In addition, researchers are also focused on novel uses of clinical imaging technologies to meet the needs of medical oncologists. Molecular and functional imaging methods, for instance, are being investigated to provide clinicians with a better understanding of the effects of a given treatment and at time-points early enough to impact treatment selection and overall management. This early understanding of the effects of a given therapy or intervention could potentially allow clinicians to switch to more effective treatments saving patients from untoward side effects or death, saving both lives and resources. Today, there are many new approaches in cancer imaging and IGI at the preclinical stage of development that need to be optimized and validated in a clinical setting to determine their impact upon tumor diagnosis, staging, intervention, therapeutic response monitoring, and surveillance. These preliminary clinical studies would serve a number of societal interests in improved cancer care in the general population as well as better serving underserved populations.
Despite these discoveries and opportunities, the incorporation of advanced imaging and IGI techniques into clinical trials remains difficult, not in-pace with clinical need, and under supported. Therefore, the purpose of this initiative is to promote the use of advanced imaging and provide the necessary support for the assessment of imaging modalities, methodologies, and agents as well as IGI methods through the early stages of clinical evaluation in both the general and underserved populations.
The official announcement and description of this opportunity may be found on the funding agency's website: