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 to interventions."
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 determine prognosis.
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?