“The whole big push right now is we need improved technology and improved models to mimic all the aspects of cancer, which there are many.”
Dan Frigo is a researcher in the UH Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling. New 3-D imaging technology, called an IVIS Spectrum, will let researchers see how cancer progresses and specifically what molecules change during the disease’s progression.
“This imaging system gives us the opportunity to study multiple aspects,” he said. “We can follow the entire lifetime of the disease, of one particular tumor, for example. And you can use this for a number of types of cancers; it’s not just restricted to one.”
The system is at UH thanks to a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Frigo says the IVIS Spectrum will be available to other UH imaging researchers, Texas Medical Center researchers and industry
“They can start imaging some of these models and can make suggestions to us, and now that we have this capability in-house, we can go back all the more rapidly and start testing it,’ he said. “That means that if we have experimental new therapeutics, we can more quickly test them in a pre-clinical model, so, if it passes in the preclinical models you can get it into the clinical trials.”
He says the research with IVIS Spectrum can eventually be combined with MRIs or CT Scanners to create a clearer picture of the various aspects of cancer and cancer treatments.
“That’s, in part, when the real beauty of it will come out. That’s when the biologist will work with the chemists for new treatments, who will then work with the computational/image analysis guys and girls. That will really build on this web of research here.”
Preclinical Imaging is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.
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