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Department of Imaging

  • clinicians looking at images The Department of Imaging provides dedicated cancer imaging services, including consultation services and cancer therapy with radioactive unsealed sources. The Department trains Harvard Medical School students, Radiology and Joint Program in Nuclear Medicine residents, Cancer Imaging Program fellows, and imaging technologists. We conduct transformative imaging research that enables breakthrough discoveries in cancer through the use of imaging.

    Clinical services

    The Department of Imaging is a world-class cancer imaging center of excellence, led by a team of cancer imaging specialists who deliver exceptional cancer imaging expertise for patients, providers, and investigators through our focused services, personalized care, and innovation using state-of-the-art technology.

    Dana-Farber-based radiologists use a disease-centric approach, which includes whole-body, and multi-modality interpretations that are very valuable to our clinicians. We adhere to the highest safety and quality standards and operate under cost-effective and efficient practices. Clinical services include:

    • CT
    • MRI
    • Ultrasound
    • Digital radiography
    • Mammography
    • PET/CT
    • Nuclear medicine
    • Therapy with unsealed sources
    • Nurse-to-draw laboratory specimen collection/IV/central line access
    • Consultation services

    Some of these services are also provided throughout the Dana-Farber network, including satellite sites and community-based services in the Greater Boston area with our Mammography Van and the Breast Imaging services at the Whittier Street Health Center.

    Our physics, technical, and medical experts routinely collaborate in a multidisciplinary "Triad" committee to optimize clinical, quality, and safety standards, in addition to developing multimodality approaches and protocols.

    Relationships to other departments

    The Department of Imaging is uniquely integrated with all the departments and disease centers at both the clinical and research levels within Dana-Farber, and has broad connections across the clinical and research communities of Dana-Farber, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center (DF/BC), and other affiliates. Dana-Farber-based radiologists actively participate in interdisciplinary disease-based conferences and tumor boards.

    One example of the successful integration with the oncologic clinics is the creation of a unique daily consultation service that staffs four radiologists on four clinical floors of the Yawkey Cancer Center: These specialists provide general and specialized cancer imaging consultations for patients imaged within or outside the network.

    Another successful enterprise has been the "Adopt-a-Radiologist Campaign," which has led to the integration of radiologists within each of the Dana-Farber disease centers. These relationships have resulted in highly successful clinical collaboration, education, and clinical trial participation, in addition to high academic productivity for both the radiologists and the oncologists.

    Research activities

    The goal of the Department of Imaging is to be a transformative, world-renowned academic imaging department that is the partner of choice for clinicians, basic scientists, and clinical investigators – to enable breakthrough discoveries in cancer through the use of imaging. To this end, the Department of Imaging has created the Center for Biomedical Imaging in Oncology (CBIO), which fully integrates the pre-clinical Lurie Family Imaging Center, (LFIC) and the Clinical Imaging Research (CIR) performed at Dana-Farber.

    The chief of the Department of Imaging also serves as the co-director of the Tumor Imaging Metrics Core (TIMC), a core of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC). This core serves as a centralized service to improve the management of tumor metrics for patients enrolled in oncology imaging trials.

    Dana-Farber-based radiologists collaborate with basic scientists and clinical investigators within Dana-Farber and with several outside institutions, industry partners, and organizations. Several faculty members have secured grant funding from federal, foundation, and/or industry resources. Faculty members actively present and publish the results of their research at national/international meetings and in peer-reviewed publications.

    Imaging has been involved in numerous prospective clinical trials from all disease centers, resulting in high academic productivity for Fellows, residents, medical students, and faculty. A large number of prospective oncologic trials are using various imaging modalities as a primary or secondary endpoint in the trial design.

    Other examples of successful collaboration include the groundbreaking role of functional imaging in the development of novel cancer drugs such the tyrosine kinase inhibitors imatinib and sunitinib, which have resulted in paradigm shifts in the development of novel therapies for cancer. We are continuing to participate in these efforts and are including imaging in immunotherapy, the latest approach in the treatment of cancer.

    Teaching

    The Department is participating in the training of the next generation of Harvard Medical School (HMS) students, BWH Radiology residents, Joint Program in Nuclear Medicine residents, Fellows, and technologists. Dana-Farber has created a successful Cancer Imaging Program (CIP) Fellowship led by faculty members Fiona Fennessy, MD, PhD, and Katherine Krajewski, MD. The program attracts seven Fellows annually. The HMS Radiology Clerkship program is led by faculty member Donald Di Salvo, MD, and is based at Dana-Farber. Dana-Farber also participates in mentorship programs such as CURE, co-directs the HMS Clinical Nuclear Medicine PET/CT post-graduate course, and participates in other HMS imaging courses.

    We also provide several weekly conferences, seminars, and lectures, including:

    • Modality-based teaching
    • Disease-based teaching
    • Biostatistics
    • Clinical and CME-approved conferences
    • One-on-one teaching for trainees and other members of the community

    Future

    Dana-Farber’s Department of Imaging is building partnerships and alliances using an overarching framework "without walls" that provides the multidisciplinary clinical and research expertise and resources needed – including a dedicated cancer research cyclotron (Massachusetts Cancer Imaging Facility) at the Institute’s Harbor Campus for our patients, providers, and investigators. Our integrated approach has redefined the specialty of imaging within a cancer center, and is a differentiator that enables optimal personalized clinical care and cancer research cost-effectively and efficiently.

    Looking to the future, we will:

    • Expand our focus on prevention and early diagnosis, tumor characterization, and patient stratification through imaging
    • Expand the use of imaging in the immunotherapy context
    • Explore the need for future hybrid cancer imaging technology and additional clinical imaging services, such as interventional radiology and bone densitometry/body composition
    • Continue to align our mission, vision, and values to strategic imperatives and priorities throughout the Institute and the enterprise, while preserving a patient- and disease-centric approach