Philips, Dartmouth to develop advanced imaging technologies

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Philips Medical Systems and the medical and engineering schools of Dartmouth College, today announced they have entered into a multi-year research agreement to develop imaging capabilities that aim to better enable earlier detection and treatment of heart disease, cancer and neurological diseases. The collaboration will include members of  Dartmouth’s Medical School and the Thayer School of Engineering.

The researchers will utilize a range of Philips imaging systems towards their goal, including using targeted molecular imaging to help visualize newly formed blood vessels in the cardiovascular system. Through functional and metabolic imaging, researchers may be able to measure the impact of these new vessels on tissue function and blood perfusion (the ability to force a fluid through an organ). Additionally, by utilizing modalities like magnetic resonance (MR) and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, researchers may be able to develop new techniques for diagnosing and treating patients with cardiac and peripheral ischemia, according to a release.

Dartmouth’s Advanced Imaging Center (AIC) is housed at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, the principal site for research including clinical trials in cancer, cardiology, and neurology. The AIC leverages the depth and range of Dartmouth’s expertise in advanced imaging technologies through an interdisciplinary approach for the development of novel diagnostics and treatment opportunities that translate directly into improved clinical care.

“Improving diagnosis and treatment options for cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurological conditions represents one of the biggest challenges in medicine,” said Stephen P. Spielberg, MD, dean, Dartmouth Medical School. “The role of medical imaging in these areas has grown exponentially in recent years, with groundbreaking work taking place in imaging the brain, the heart, and other organs. Working with our colleagues from the Thayer School and Philips, Dartmouth sees the opportunity to combine the intellectual strengths of academia with an industry leader as a key to further unlock advances in medical imaging.”

In the studies, researchers will employ a multi-modality approach that may impact diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease and various cancers in the breast and brain. For example, an enhanced ability to assess tissue viability in a reliable manner would be an important clinical tool in cardiovascular disease. The combination of imaging plaque in new vessels with PET imaging would increase the reliability of non-invasive detection of fatty substances along the artery wall.

Following are key areas of the collaboration’s focus:

  • The Alternative Breast Cancer Imaging Center (ABCIC) at Dartmouth develops and evaluates alternatives to current imaging methods to increase the accuracy of breast cancer detection and diagnosis, and monitoring of breast cancer progression and regression;
  • Through this collaboration, Dartmouth will have the ability to perform research with micro positron emission tomography (microPET), as well as other imaging technologies over the course of the relationship;
  • The Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) is developing an imaging program to enhance early tumor detection, facilitate the development and evaluation of new drugs, and accelerate the development of new therapies to improve the quality of life for cancer patients; and
  • The Neuroscience Center and Neuroimaging Research Center at Dartmouth focuses on how advanced imaging technology can help detection and assessment of early neurological disease. Key research objectives include enhanced understanding of basic disease processes, recognizing risk factors, and identifying mechanisms of treatment among prevalent brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury (TBI), multiple sclerosis (MS), epilepsy, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and drug addiction.