The mission of the Molecular Imaging Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute is to provide researchers, clinicians, and the people of Utah with the most advanced molecular imaging technologies, including radiopharmaceuticals and instrumentation; to enable the highest quality research; and to assist clinicians in diagnosing disease and monitoring therapy.
In the past ten years, knowledge in molecular biology has developed rapidly, creating a revolution in basic understandings of human diseases. The human and mouse genomes are now known. The genes responsible for many diseases have been described. The pathways, proteins, and processes responsible for human diseases such as various types of cancers are better understood. In addition, there have been remarkable advances in imaging technology and methods, including MRI, PET, and optical imaging.
Biologic processes in the cells and molecules of living organisms can be seen and measured with molecular imaging. These imaging techniques have already proven their potential in radiology. With molecular imaging, doctors now have new, non-invasive ways to diagnose and stage cancers.
The Molecular Imaging (MI) Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute works to use these techniques to help scientists translate the molecular biology of disease into clinical practice. The techniques may make it possible to predict the way patients will respond to certain drugs, treatments, and therapies.
Currently, molecular imaging is mainly used in the laboratory to study mouse models of human cancer. The MI Program envisions developing these techniques to gain approval for human use. With the ability to see and measure the way normal cells become cancer cells , doctors may be able to diagnose cancer in patients earlier when treatment is more effective, and accurately choose the treatments best suited for each patient's circumstances.
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