Multimodal imaging has become a critical resource across the medical field, as it effectively allows for diagnosing and monitoring the development and progression of a disease at both a molecular and anatomical level. While combined positron emission tomography and computerized tomography (PET/CT) is the most widely implemented form of multimodal imaging used today, a novel and innovative medical technology, known as a hybrid PET and magnetic resonance imaging (PET/MRI), has recently emerged. The quantitative PET data combined with the simultaneously acquired MRI information has the potential to provide clinicians with tumor metabolic information (PET), coupled with clear anatomical detail (MRI) of the desired soft tissue compartments. PET/MRI has gained widespread traction in recent years largely due to the fact that MRI eliminates exposure to ionizing radiation and offers excellent soft-tissue contrast. For certain applications such as prostate cancer (PCa), PET/MRI has the potential to become the leading imaging modality as it could allow clinicians to more confidently discriminate clinically relevant from non-life-threatening PCa lesions. However, before it can be used to guide patient management, a remaining methodological challenge needs to be addressed. Specifically, a method to perform PET attenuation correction based on the MR data needs to be developed and evaluated. Attenuation correction is especially important when imaging the pelvis, as bone tissue and air pockets surrounding the prostate are often misclassified as soft tissue (see image), leading to PET quantification bias and artifacts. In this project, we will compare the performance of several deep learning approaches to generate pelvis attenuation maps from the MR images using data acquired from PCa patients. After attenuation is properly accounted for, both radiomics and deep learning approaches can be employed to identify the most relevant imaging features from each modality and combine them into a multimodal classification model that best characterizes primary prostate tumor aggressiveness.
CaNCURE provides trainees with a 6-month hands-on research experience and one-on-one mentoring by leading researchers in cancer nanomedicine. Projects performed by current and past participants include:
While on co-op, trainees document their research in an e-portfolio. This gives trainees the opportunity to provide regular updates on their research progress, reflect on training they are receiving, and explain how their research fits within the field of cancer nanomedicine. These research e-portfolios can be accessed through individual trainee profiles. The complete collection may be found here.
Presentation at CaNCURE Nanomedicine Day
At the completion of their co-op, trainees are provided with the opportunity to present their research to a wider audience. In our 1st annual CaNCURE Nanomedicine Day, trainees prepared interactive, digital posters to display on electronic poster boards. Over 100 faculty, students, and researchers attended our first event!
Check out the news article and congrats to all the poster winners!
Jordan Harris: Most Innovative Cancer Research Award
Jeremy Thong: Best Undergraduate Research Poster Award
Craig Pille: Most Promising Translational Research Award
Bryan Kynnap: Most Promising Basic Science Award
Jordan Harris: Top Chemical Engineering Poster Award