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The Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics Research Program strives to develop previously impossible precision medicine tools for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The program unifies the use of clinically relevant biomarkers and novel therapeutic strategies to achieve better outcomes in personalized cancer care.

Molecular Imaging & Targeted Therapies

Molecular imaging techniques allow us to find cancer cells in a patient’s body that exhibit specific biomarkers. These biomarkers can be targeted with unique medications, maximizing the destruction of cancer cells.

With regular scanning, a patient’s cancer can be tracked as it migrates and gains or loses mutations. In this way, we can modify the treatment as soon as mutations occur rather than wait for clinical failure of current medications.

Targeted therapies show unique promise for the personalized treatment of cancer. Both the targeting vehicle and the therapy agent can be specifically tailored to the individual patient.

Goals

The program is built around finding new targeted medications that have imaging correlates. These correlates tell us whether a targeted agent will bind to a tumor and kill it. When used in concert, targeted drug treatments and molecular imaging support our ultimate goal: better cancer treatment for our patients.

The program also nurtures Loma Linda University Cancer Center's efforts to translate research directly into patient benefits. New targeted therapies from our research labs are turned into clinical trials that can have enormous impacts on our patients’ cancer care. 

Future Goals

Looking forward, the program is positioned to conduct some of the most compelling cancer research anywhere. One of our future goals is to develop molecular imaging techniques that detect cancer near its “pre-disease” state. This advanced imaging modality may provide some of the earliest cancer detection possible, driving precision health and leading to new treatments and higher survival rates.

“I am convinced that molecular imaging will lead to early diagnostic interventions, enhanced non-invasive personalized therapies and improved patient outcomes.”

Research & Clinical Trials

Our researchers work to discover medications for the cancer mutations we know can be found with imaging techniques. Their work is supported through funding of the program and then expanded through clinical trials. Research is also aided by our Institute for Genetics and Translational Genomics, whose help is crucial to breakthroughs in molecular imaging.

The program benefits tremendously from our current inhouse imaging infrastructure, particularly the use of PET scanners and cyclotrons. These machines offer significant capacity for new breakthroughs in molecular imaging and precision medicine. Further, they attract and enable new clinical trials for the benefit of our patients and community.

Program Members

Director

Frankis Almaguel, MD, PhD

Members

Carlos Casiano, PhD