The overall goal of the Imaging Core is to develop, optimize, implement, and validate quantitative, surrogate, predictive biomarkers of: 1) drug target engagement, 2) the type of antitumor effect induced by a particular treatment, and 3) the response of breast cancer to treatment. The Imaging Core will offer a full range of small animal functional, anatomical, and molecular imaging techniques, including magnetic resonance, computed tomography, ultrasound, fluorescence, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Breast Cancer SPORE investigators will also have access to novel probe development resources, including high-throughput, diversity-oriented synthesis capabilities suitable for identifying novel imaging compounds, as well as the resources of the state-of-the-art Vanderbilt University Research Radiochemistry Core. Novel and established molecular imaging techniques will be offered which are specifically tailored for assessing quantitative metrics of cellular metabolism and proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, receptor expression and inflammation. As in the previous funding cycle, the Imaging Core will partner closely with other Breast SPORE Cores and forge new connections with the VUIIS such that services are highly cost-effective. To provide this support to the projects, the Imaging Core has identified the following three specific aims:
Foster collaborations between experts in quantitative non-invasive imaging and breast cancer research. The Imaging Core will support experts in all major imaging modalities, with particular emphasis on positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Develop, validate, and provide non-invasive imaging of drug target engagement, tumor initiation, progression and treatment response for Breast Cancer SPORE investigators.
Provide support for analysis of quantitative imaging data, development of customized imaging protocols, including co-registration and integration of multiple imaging modalities, histology and other in situ assays, and the development of novel imaging biomarkers.