BETHESDA, MarylandImprovements in medical imaging over the last
quarter century have greatly expanded early cancer detection and the accuracy
of diagnosis. Yet imaging’s potential for detecting specific activity within
cells, helping develop and target new therapies, and assessing prognosis
remains in an early stage.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has set the goal for its extraordinary
opportunity in cancer imaging as the "accelerated discovery and
development of imaging methods that will predict clinical course and response
In this interview, Ellen Feigal, MD, acting director of NCI’s Division of
Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, discusses the Institute’s program with
Patrick Young, ONI Washington Bureau Chief.
Oncology News International: How does NCI define cancer imaging in the year 2002?
Dr. Feigal: We are not talking just about anatomic imaging, but also about
identifying the physiological, cellular, and molecular processes that are
taking place in the human body. The ability to image the molecular changes
associated with a tumor cell will improve our ability to detect and stage
tumors, select appropriate treatments, monitor their effectiveness, and
To accomplish this will require integrating the growing body of scientific
knowledge in tumor genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry.
ONI: How would you compare cancer imaging today with, say, 25 years ago?