Research facility established to help bring personalized medicine to fruition
Harnessing state-of-the-art imaging technology for the study of
cancer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Lurie Family Imaging Center opens
Monday, April 27, with a special ceremony at the center's home in the
Marine Industrial Park on the South Boston waterfront.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, to be held 2:30-3:00 p.m. at 27 Dry Dock
Avenue with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and state Sen. Jack Hart in
attendance, will include tours of the facility where scientists will use
specially designed MRI, CT, PET, ultrasound and optical scanners to
visualize abnormalities in tumors of laboratory animals, speeding the
development and testing of drugs targeted at cancer-specific changes.
"As research continues to reveal the genetic complexity of cancer, it
becomes ever clearer that therapy needs to be tailored to the specific
set of mutations within each patient's tumor," says Dana-Farber
President Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD.
"Work at the Lurie Family Imaging Center looks forward to the day
when imaging technology becomes a standard tool for diagnosing tumors at
the molecular level and guiding individualized treatment."
The center, established with donor funds from Nancy Lurie Marks and
the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation, "will enable us to pioneer
techniques for diagnosing tumors by their molecular makeup without the
need to surgically remove tumor tissue to conduct a biopsy," says
Barrett Rollins, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer at Dana-Farber.
"This process, by which patients will one day have their tumors
scanned for genetic mutations, and receive drugs directed at those
mutations, will be the centerpiece of personalized medicine in cancer."
"I want to thank Dana-Farber for their commitment to the spirit of
discovery," says Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "While we've all had
different experiences with cancer, there's one thing we can all agree
on: fighting cancer is a team effort. I also want to thank Dana-Farber
for working with the team at the Boston Redevelopment Authority to
realize the benefits of locating in the Marine Industrial Park."
Improving imaging capabilities holds the promise to make the process
of cancer drug development faster, less costly, and more efficient.
In contrast to the current practice of measuring the size of tumors
on laboratory animals' skins or collecting them from internal organs to
determine the effectiveness of experimental treatments, imaging
technology will enable researchers to study the effects of such
treatments by scanning tumors anywhere within the animals' bodies.
"Imaging technology provides a window into the inner workings of
tumors, and in some cases can tell us whether drugs are working almost
in real time," says Andrew Kung, MD, PhD, director of the Lurie Family
Imaging Center. "We'll be able to more quickly identify drugs that are
effective against certain cancers and stop working on those that
The center's primary goal is to optimize the capabilities of imaging
technologies so they can be adapted for use in diagnosing human tumors
and evaluating drugs studied in clinical trials. Making such
applications a reality, however, will require extensive development,
refinement, and testing of current imaging technology.
The Lurie Family Imaging Center is an integral part of the Center for
Biomedical Imaging in Oncology (CBIO) at Dana-Farber that is "dedicated
to use imaging technology as a tool to bridge the gap between research
done in animals and clinical applications, and to bring new drugs more
rapidly into clinical trials and practice," says Annick D. Van den
Abbeele, MD, chief of Radiology and director of CBIO.
The 14,000 square-foot Lurie Family Imaging Center includes an MRI
(magnetic resonance imaging) scanner specially designed for laboratory
animals, a combined PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed
tomography) scanner, an advanced ultrasound imaging system, and multiple
optical imagers for studies that use light-emitting proteins to track
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (www.dana-farber.org)
is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is
among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States.
It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
(DF/HCC), designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National