NIH, NCI issue grant to U of Washington for PET agents

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Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine in Seattle have received a $7 million five-year renewal grant award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Cancer Institute (NCI) to continue research in molecular imaging of cancer and its response to therapy. This new award is funded through 2016.

“The PET agents we have developed are not intended for detection of cancer, but rather for characterization of the disease in an individual patient,” said Kenneth A. Krohn, PhD, co-principal investigator, and a UW professor of radiology and radiation oncology.

“Our ability to use PET imaging to identify patients with tumors at high risk for treatment failure, those who are experiencing treatment failure and those individuals for whom an ideal targeted therapy will have an immediate and direct positive clinical impact,” said Janet F. Eary, MD, co-principal investigator in the study and a UW professor of nuclear medicine.

Other researchers on the project are Jeanne Link, PhD, a UW associate professor of nuclear medicine, and David A. Mankoff, MD, PhD, a UW professor of radiology. By showing the chemical reactions taking place inside a person’s body, nuclear imaging has the benefit of characterizing cancer within an individual patient. The research project encourages collaborative teamwork between laboratory scientists and clinicians.

The UW PET Cancer Group has been actively investigating new imaging agents for more than 20 years. Their work encompasses development of imaging agents, preclinical models and translation to early phase clinical trials. The group consists of radiochemists, clinical imaging specialists, imaging physicists and image analyses experts who interact in a multidisciplinary environment.