Linking radiation oncology and imaging through molecular biology (or now that therapy and diagnosis have separated, it's time to get together again!)

C. Norman Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Among the areas defined by the National Cancer Institute as "Extraordinary Opportunities for Research Investment" that are highly relevant to the technology-oriented disciplines within the broad field of radiology are cancer imaging, defining the signatures (ie, underlying molecular features) of cancer cells, and molecular targets of prevention and treatment. In molecular target credentialing, a specific molecular target is imaged, the molecular signature is defined, a treatment is given, and the effect of the intervention on the image findings and the signature is then evaluated. Such an approach is used to validate the proposed target as a legitimate one for cancer therapy or prevention and to provide the opportunity to ultimately individualize therapy on the basis of both the initial characteristics of the tumor and the tumor's response to an intervention. Therapeutic radiation is focused biology (ie, radiation produces molecular events in the irradiated tissue). Radiation can (a) kill cancer cells by itself, (b) be combined with cytotoxic or cytostatic drugs, and (c) serve to initiate radiation-inducible molecular targets that are amenable to treatment with drugs and/or biologic therapies. Focused biology can be anatomically confined with various types of external beams and with brachytherapy, and it can be used systemically with targeted radioisotopes. These new paradigms link diagnostic imaging, radiation therapy, and nuclear medicine in unique ways by way of basic biology. It is timely to develop new collaborative research, training, and education agendas by building on one another's expertise and adopting new fields of micro-technology, nanotechnology, and mathematical analysis and optimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalRADIOLOGY
Volume228
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

Keywords

  • Neoplasms, therapeutic radiology
  • Radiations, protective and therapeutic agents and devices
  • Radiobiology, cell and tissue studies
  • Radiology and radiologists, research
  • Therapeutic radiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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