Initiatives and Accomplishments Since 8/1/05
Since its inception and formal inauguration on August 1, 2005 with the arrival of Director John Hoffman, MD, the Molecular Imaging Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute has achieved several accomplishments:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding of a submitted R-21 grant entitled "Imaging Phenotypes in Copper Metabolism Disease in Mice" by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The principal investigator (PI) of the proposal was Kathryn Morton, MD; co-investigator is John M Hoffman, MD. This grant commenced on April 1, 2006 for two years. This R21 proposal utilized autoradiography to study the distribution of the positron-emitting radionuclide copper-64 in transgenic animal models of diseases involving copper uptake metabolism.
- An R01 (NIH) grant with Morton as PI and Hoffman as co-investigator titled "FDG-PET Imaging in Cancer-Associated Venothromboembolic Disease" commenced on September 1, 2006. The funding period for this grant is four years. This R01 proposal will utilize FDG and PET/CT to better study cancer-associated venothromboembolic disease.
- An R-21 Quick Trial grant with Hoffman as PI and Morton as co-investigator was funded by NCI and commenced on May 1, 2007. The title of the grant proposal is "FDG-PET/CT in the Evaluation of Persistent Febrile Neutropenia in Cancer Patients." The primary aim of this exploratory study was to perform FDG-PET/CT in cancer patients with persistent febrile neutropenia in whom an obvious source of infection has not been identified.
- A grant titled "Sunitinib for Metastatic Renal Cell Cancer with Imaging Biomarker Assessments for the Early Prediction of Tumor Response" was funded by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Hoffman is the PI. The study began on July 1, 2007.
- A University Synergy grant was awarded to the Molecular Imaging Program (PI Hoffman) on October 1, 2007. The title of the study is "Development of an Integrated Molecular Biomarker of Early Prediction of Therapeutic Response to Targeted Therapy in Stage IIIB/IV or Recurrent Lung Cancer Patients using Imaging Assessments and Genomic Modeling."
- An NCI grant was awarded to Dan Kadrmas, PhD, in January 2009. The title of the grant is "Multi-Tracer PET Tumor Imaging." This study has two primary objectives—a translational objective in which a new PET imaging technology will be translated from experimental development to the first use in human subjects and an exploratory objective in which the complementary value of multiple PET tracers (FDG, FLT, H20 and acetate) will be investigated in patients with primary brain tumors.
- Several University investigators including Dan Kadrmas, PhD, and Edward DiBella, PhD, have used resources provided by the Molecular Imaging Program to perform their funded NIH studies. DiBella has an R01 grant funded that will use 13NH3 PET to investigate cardiac perfusion. Kadrmas has American Cancer Society funding and an R01 grant from the NCI to study multitracer PET technology development.
Since the inception of the program on August 1, 2005, there have been numerous accomplishments in the cyclotron and radiochemistry components of the Molecular Imaging Program.
- The installation of four additional mini-cells and a large shielded module with remote manipulators (Capintec) which will be used for preparation of C-11 compounds.
- The installation of the GE TRACERlab FX/F-N™ general nucleophilic substitution synthesis unit. The automated system is designed for easy and efficient production of general [18F]Fluoride (nucleophilic) based tracers. With this installation, the radiochemistry group completed the necessary chemistry qualification runs for the submission of an IND for 3'-deoxy-3'-[F-18]fluorothymidine, [F-18]FLT. This tracer assesses proliferation and will be of critical importance to many cancer investigators at Huntsman Cancer Institute. The investigational new drug (IND) was approved by the FDA in February 2007. This tracer will allow for a noninvasive determination of proliferation of cancer cells using PET. It holds promise of being a very early marker for therapeutic response.
- The laboratory has also brought online a BioScan AutoLoop 11C-Methylation System which uses the proprietary "Loop" technique. This will enable researchers to make various C-11 compounds.
- The laboratory has also brought on line a GE TRACERlab FX/C Pro™ Carbon-11 synthesis module. This system will be used to synthesize various C-11 compounds particularly C-11 PIB and C-11 Acetate.
- The laboratory also has two GE Fast lab™ synthesis modules for the production of FDG and F-18 NaF. In December 2008, an IND was filed and approved for the use of [C-11} PIB in various dementia disorders.
Small Animal Imaging Infrastructure (School of Medicine Core)
In September 2005, in a joint effort with bioengineering and investigators from the Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research (UCAIR), Hoffman assisted with writing and submitting a grant proposal to NIH for the High-End Instrumentation Grant Program in response to NIH PAR 05-124. This proposal was to obtain funding for a high field-strength small animal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, which will form the central component of a comprehensive small animal MRI facility at the University of Utah. This proposal was funded in August 2006. The $1,700,000 grant was used to purchase a dedicated small animal MRI. See full story here. Hoffman is the chair of the Small Animal MRI Core Facility Advisory Committee.
- Eventually all small animal imaging systems will be moved to the new Sorenson USTAR building.
- Hoffman has been working with university administration on the site planning for the small animal imaging facility which will house this MRI unit as well as other potential small animal imaging infrastructure in the new USTAR building.
- With the assistance of USTAR funds, the small animal imaging capabilities now include a Siemens INVEON micro-PET/SPECT/CT system and a VisEn FMT 2500 fluorescence imaging system.