Cancer revealed: New $10M grant establishes cancer imaging center

ANN ARBOR, MI - Once upon a time - really, a few years ago -- cancer patients had to endure painful exploratory surgery just so their doctors could see where their tumors were. Today, they only have to lie down in a CT scanner for a few minutes to reveal their cancer's location.

But tomorrow's cancer patients will have medical-imaging scans that will tell them and their doctors in minutes not only where their tumors are, but also how fast their cancer is growing, what genes inside their cancerous cells have mutated and gone out of control, what treatments might kill their cancer most effectively, and whether or not they're responding to treatment.

That's the vision of a new cancer-imaging center being launched by the University of Michigan Health System and the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, MI. Called the Center for Molecular Imaging, it will combine cutting-edge imaging technologies, and new knowledge about the genes and proteins involved in cancer, to develop ways of seeing cancer as it begins, grows, spreads -- and is killed by new drugs. The laboratory discoveries made by its scientists could accelerate everything from diagnosis to the development of future medications.

The center is one of only five in the nation funded after a competition run by the National Cancer Institute. It will build on the strengths and use the facilities of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and the VARI, expanding research already in progress at both institutions and the Ann Arbor biotech firm Molecular Therapeutics. The NCI center grant, for $10 million over five years, is in addition to a $10 million program grant won last fall by U-M for brain-tumor imaging studies.

"The advances in medical imaging, and in cancer biology, over the past decade have been astounding, but combining the two promises to increase our power to understand and defeat cancer," says Brian Ross, Ph.D., professor of radiology at the U-M Medical School and pr

Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System

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