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University of Iowa News Release


April 1, 2010

UI imaging team receives $3 million cancer-related grant

A multidisciplinary team of scientists at the University of Iowa has received a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for research to improve clinical decision-making for cancer patients through better use of medical imaging.

Imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) can be used to monitor how well cancer treatments are working. The UI team plans to develop standardized computational tools and methods to help integrate this capability for monitoring tumor response into clinical decision-making.

Researchers collaborating on the study include faculty and staff from the Carver College of Medicine, the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as from the Center of Excellence for Image Guided Radiation Therapy, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, and the Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging.

The team is jointly led by four principal investigators:
--John Buatti, M.D., professor and head of radiation oncology and deputy director of clinical cancer care at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.
--Thomas Casavant, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering and director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computer Biology.
--Michael Graham, Ph.D., M.D., professor of radiology and radiation oncology.
--Milan Sonka, Ph.D., professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering.

In addition, public-private partnerships with Siemens Corporate Research and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are a key part of the effort.

"This large multidisciplinary research team is a prime example of the collaboration typical of the University of Iowa," said Buatti, who also will serve as chair of the steering committee for the NCI-based Quantitative Imaging Network. "By drawing together the expertise of researchers from across the university and beyond, we hope to develop standardized, accessible tools to improve clinical decision-making in cancer care."

The researchers will develop new image analysis tools and methods that make the response assessment for cancer therapy more objective and effective for clinical decision-making. These newly developed tools will be applied to a number of prospective clinical trials being performed at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center as components of the Tumor Imaging Program.

The team also will develop a network to provide a universally accessible database for quantitative imaging. Information and tools developed through the study will be freely shared through the National Biomedical Imaging Archive and Cancer Bio-Informatics Grid.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Care Media Relations, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room W319 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, 319-356-7124,