Major grant for medical imaging

The quest to see what's going on inside living beings just got a boost at Stanford, with a $10 million In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The award was announced last week, making Stanford one of only two centers nationwide to receive an ICMIC grant this year. The funding is earmarked for facilitating interdisciplinary interactions among investigators in several areas of research with the goal of creating new molecular imaging agents to detect and study cancer and to monitor outcomes.

The field of molecular imaging aims to pinpoint disease long before it has wreaked havoc on the body by using disease-specific beacons that can emit externally detectable signals. If the promise of molecular imaging holds true, doctors someday would be able to discover cancer when only a few cells have developed, rather than the millions required to show up using current detection methods.

Successful molecular imaging endeavors involve the expertise of engineers, physicists, radiologists, biologists, chemists and mathematicians. The ICMIC at Stanford will enable such interactions and fund facilities that foster interdisciplinary collaborations.

Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, professor of radiology, and Christopher Contag, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology, are respectively the principal investigator and the co-principal investigator of the grant.