The Department of Imaging provides state-of-the-art technologies
for imaging-based research, diagnostics, and drug development.
The Department focuses on the development and validation of
imaging as a biomarker through the use of the latest imaging
technologies and techniques across each of its cancer-focused
imaging modalities. It is dedicated to supporting translational
molecular imaging research. This is achieved through facilitating
interdisciplinary collaborations between disease-focused clinical
investigators and basic scientists on clinical and preclinical
imaging studies. Faculty members are also active in developing
innovative image data-management protocols and participating in
developing data-mining strategies to better inform clinical
decision-making through their research efforts.
To support its expanding research portfolio, the Department
recently recruited radiologists Mizuki Nishino, MD, Katherine Krajewski, MD, and Katherine Zukotynski, MD, as well
as Yuchuan Wang, PhD, a preclinical imaging physicist. In addition, Yoko Franchetti, PhD, a biostatistician who was jointly recruited with the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, develops the formal statistical
design and analysis of imaging in clinical and preclinical
Department faculty belong to various imaging consortia and
working groups. This includes the American College of Radiology
Imaging Network (ACRIN), NCI Imaging Response Assessment Teams,
Radiological Society of North America Imaging Biomarkers Roundtable
and Quantitative Imaging Biomarker Alliance, CTEP Phase II Clinical
Trial Design Working Group, CALGB Imaging Committee, the VIEW
Consortium (QARC, ACRIN, CALGB) Imaging Standards Committee,
National CTSA Imaging Working Group, and Society of Nuclear
Medicine Clinical Trials Network.
The Department pioneered the use of FDG-PET to evaluate response
to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in gastrointestinal stromal
tumor (GIST) patients. This activity has continued in the clinical
trials of successive TKIs, including sunitinib, dasatinib,
nilotinib, and lapatinib. The use of FDGPET has also been extended
to other cancers trials, including non-GIST sarcomas, metastatic
breast cancer, lung cancer, and melanoma. The Department has had a
very active role in defining the use of FDG-PET in clinical
oncology trials within the global imaging community, particularly
with regard to the standardization of multicenter trials.
Nishino recently received an RSNA Research Scholar Grant to
evaluate new methods of assessing response to erlotinib in women
with adenocarcinoma, using CT imaging to measure chronological
changes in tumor size, volume, and density. She is also actively
involved in evaluating the recently updated RECIST 1.1 for lung
The Department has successfully expanded the mechanisms that can
be measured in vivo with PET by introducing the use of new
radiopharmaceuticals. For example, in collaboration with Dana-
Farber's Multiple Myeloma Program, PET with sodium fluoride
(NaF-PET) was used to evaluate bone mineralization in osteonecrosis
of the jaw compared to conventional CT, MRI, and FDG-PET imaging.
The Department also collaborated with Geoffrey Shapiro, MD, PhD, of
Medical Oncology and director of the Early Drug Development Center,
and Ann LaCasce, MD, also in Medical Oncology, to conduct the first
multicenter trial using fluorinated thymidine (FLT-PET).
The first FDG-PET screening trial of high-risk populations was
conducted by department faculty in collaboration with Judy Garber, MD, MPH, and colleagues in the Division of
Population Sciences in Medical Oncology. The study demonstrated
promising results in detecting asymptomatic cancer in patients with
Li Fraumeni syndrome.
Dana-Farber is an executive member of the Biomedical Imaging
Core Resource that oversees the clinical and research activities of
the cyclotron facility recently established at Brigham and Women's
Hospital. This facility serves as a critical resource for new PET
tracers for oncologic applications.
The Department of Imaging is addressing the needs to evaluate
the vascularity, perfusion, and permeability of tumors in response
to antiangiogenic therapies used in clinical trials and, more
recently, in clinical practice. This is being done in collaboration
with investigators in Medical Oncology. Pamela Dipiro, MD, director of CT Imaging, and Jeffrey Yap, PhD, senior diagnostic physicist and director of
the Clinical Imaging Center, have established the use of
multi-slice CT perfusion imaging in collaboration with F. Stephen Hodi, MD, from Medical Oncology, a melanoma expert.
Jyothi Jagannathan, MD, has established dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI imaging
(DCE-MRI) to evaluate tumor perfusion and permeability effects in
clinical trials being conducted in patients with brain tumors by Patrick Wen, MD, sarcomas by Andrew Wagner, MD, and metastatic breast cancer by Ian Krop, MD. Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) is also being
used to measure the diffusion of water in brain tumors.
Don DiSalvo, MD, director of ultrasonography, is developing
dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) ultrasonography with the use of
A new Dana-Farber imaging center – the Center for Biomedical
Imaging in Oncology (CBIO) – is led by Department Chair Annick Van
den Abbeele, MD. CBIO is dedicated to facilitating the
bidirectional translation of imaging research in cancer and the
realization of personalized medicine. Features of the CBIO include:
a clinical imaging research arm directed by Yap, and a preclinical
imaging research program and the newly established Lurie Family
Imaging Center directed by Andrew Kung, MD, PhD, of Pediatric Oncology.
Van den Abbeele serves as the Dana-Farber site director for the
Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center's Tumor Imaging Metrics Core.
This facility provides timely standardized and longitudinal
radiological measurements of treatment response of subjects
enrolled in clinical trials.
Van den Abbeele is a member of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and
Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) Imaging Steering Committee and
chairs the DF/BWCC Research Subcommittee. The goals of this
committee are to optimize, expand, and coordinate the clinical and
research aspects of the DF/BWCC Cancer Imaging Program.
The department's dedicated laboratory for multicenter imaging
trials provides study design, imaging protocol development, PET/CT
scanner evaluation and qualification, quality control and archival
of imaging data, diagnostic review of images, centralized
quantitative image analysis, and scientific interpretation of final
All imaging procedures are performed under the supervision of
board-certified radiologists/nuclear medicine physicians.
Radiology/nuclear medicine residency and fellowship training, as
well as a radiology clerkship program for Harvard Medical School
(HMS) students, are offered. Dana-Farber Imaging is a member of the
Joint Program in Nuclear Medicine (JPNM) at HMS. It also serves as
a radiologic technologist clinical training site for a number of
local undergraduate and postgraduate radiological sciences
Van den Abbeele and Yap have participated in various NCI working
groups. They coauthored the NCI Consensus Recommendations on the
use of FDG-PET in clinical trials and the CTEP considerations for
the use of imaging in Phase II treatment trials in oncology. Van
den Abbeele and Yap also serve as site co-directors for the
Harvard's NIH Clinical and Translational Science Center Imaging
Consortium, and Yap is the director of education for the Imaging
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