Cancer Imaging & Radiobiology Program Activities & Scientific Reports | Research Programs | Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Skip to main content
Norris Cotton Cancer Center
In This Section

Cancer Imaging & Radiobiology Program Activities and Selected Scientific Reports

Program Activities

Harold Swartz, PhD and Keith Paulsen, PhD lead Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology, which is one of six foundational Research Programs at Norris Cotton Cancer Center. They meet monthly to exchange findings and discuss new areas of interest. The Program has many additional activities to enhance the advancement of science in cancer imaging and radiobiology. Of the 22 members, most come from Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and a significant number have their primary appointments through Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering.

Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology sponsors regular programs including the Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology Seminar Series.

Focus groups are well-attended and the areas of interest are In Vivo EPR in Radiation Dosimetry and Tumor Oximetry, as well as Cancer Nanotechnology. Program-led symposia have included the annual meeting of ISOTT, which was supported by Cancer Center funding, and the In Vivo EPR meeting held at Dartmouth in 2013. The recent topical meeting on Imaging in Cancer was also sponsored by Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology.

At Dartmouth, opportunities for academic dialogue abound and members of Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology are regular contributors. They participate in Norris Cotton Cancer Center Grand Rounds, the EPR Seminar Series, and the Biomedical Engineering Seminar Series. DCCNE has an annual symposium and Brian Pogue, PhD organizes its Education Core. Neuroscience Day at Dartmouth featured Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology members as speakers including David Roberts, MD, Keith Paulsen, and Alex Hartov, PhD.

Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology’s presence in the clinical sphere is broad and significant including participation in Norris Cotton Cancer Center Tumor Boards held at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH.

As a group, Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology assists members in developing their careers with mentoring, grant writing, recruiting new team members, and teaching. For instance, as a part of the Dart-Dose U19 Center for Medical Countermeasures for Radiation, members are eligible for nine pilot funding grants per year. The Cancer Nanotechnology Program also has an annual pilot program for funding. Recruitments, including Harold Swartz’s identification and hire of Periannan Kuppusamy, PhD in biomedical imaging are designed specifically to enhance areas of strength.

Mentoring is a top priority and Brian Pogue’s mentoring of Chad Kanick, PhD resulted in a recent K25. Harold Swartz formally mentors several highly successful Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology members including Lesley Jarvis, MD, Eunice Y. Chen, MD, PhD, Philip E. Schaner, MD, PhD, Thomas C. Sroka, MD, PhD, and Benjamin Williams, PhD.

Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology members are active teaching faculty and responsible for the following courses, among others:

  • Brian Pogue - Medical Imaging, Biomedical Radiation Transport
  • Keith Paulsen - Medical Device Development
  • Alex Hartov - Medical Image Processing
  • P. Jack Hoopes, DVM, PhD - Introduction to Biomedical Engineering
  • Ryan Halter, PhD - Intermediate Biomedical Engineering

Nationally, Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology members participate in study sections including Brian Pogue who chairs Biomedical Imaging Technologies Study Section B, Keith Paulsen who chairs NCI’s Academic-Industrial Partnership Program Study Section and is also a member of NCI-I Career Development. Harold Swartz is active in a number of national advisory boards including chairing the Advisory Committee for the Center for In Vivo Physiology at the University of Chicago (P41), chairing the Advisory Committee for the Neurosciences Center at the University of New Mexico (P30), and as a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Biomedical ESR Center at the University of Chicago (P41).

2013 Selected Scientific Progress & Achievements

Magnetic spectroscopy of nanoparticle Brownian motion, MSB, is a novel, non-invasive sensing technique pioneered by CIR member Weaver, that provides measurements of the number of magnetic nanoparticles (mNPs) present (Weaver, Nanotechnology, 2013).

MSB offers information on the quantitative concentration of selected molecules [X. Zhang, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2013).

While the up-regulation of cell surface receptors has become a central focus in personalized cancer treatment, quantitative imaging of these molecular interactions in tumors remains one of the unfulfilled promises of molecular imaging, largely due to the confounding nature of tracer pharmacokinetics in tissue. Receptor concentration imaging (RCI) is a seminal development in molecular imaging and has opened entirely new avenues of research, including preclinical imaging (Tichauer, Journal of Biomedical Optic, 2013), and a study recently published in PNAS describing noninvasive receptor concentration tomography in murine glioma models (Davis, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2013).

The multi-disciplinary team led by CIR member David Roberts, MD, currently has the largest experience with PpIX fluorescence during brain tumor surgery in North America, and has enrolled over 100 patients in their investigator-sponsored IND studies. These investigators have realized hyperspectral, wide-field imaging concepts that are able to quantitatively image PpIX fluorescence corresponding to residual tumor at the end of resection when the surgical field exhibits negative visual fluorescence (Valdes, Optics Letters, 2013). A novel pulsed-light imaging system which achieves fluorescence detection with the OR room lights turned-on has been developed in collaboration with Dr. Pogue’s team ( Sexton, Optics Letters, 2013).

CIR members Drs. Halter and Hartov, in collaboration with NCCC members Heaney, Seigne and Schned, have expanded their work to include studies of electrical impedance data collected in vivo during prostate cancer surgeries using an innovative electrode array attached to a transrectal ultrasound scanhead for tissue imaging during the resection procedure. The ultrasound system provided anatomic information, which guided image reconstruction, and the electrical impedance image data were correlated with pathological findings in 50 men prior to undergoing radical prostatectomy. An average transformation error of 1.67% was found when 381 spatially coregistered pathological images were compared with their target electrical impedance images. At signal frequencies of 0.4, 3.2, and 25.6 kHz, paired-testing demonstrated that the image conductivity of cancerous regions was significantly greater than that of benign regions (p < 0.0304), confirming previous exvivo probe measurements (Wan, Med Phys, 2013).

2012 Selected Scientific Accomplishments

  • Established a framework for carrying out comparative effectiveness for diagnostic methods to triage subjects when a large population is exposed to potentially lethal exposures of ionizing radiation (Flood et. al. 2011).
    • Flood AB, Nicolalde RJ, Demidenko E, Williams BB, Shapiro A, Wiley AL Jr, Swartz HM (2011). A framework for comparative evaluation of dosimetric methods to triage a large population following a radiological event. Radiat Meas 46(9):916-922. PMC3178340
  • Demonstrated in a preclinical model that implantable resonators could be used to measure oxygen in tumors during growth and hyperoxygenation treatments, advancing the feasibility of using this potentially powerful technique to improve clinical radiation therapy (Hou et. al. 2012).
    • Hou H, Dong R, Li H, Williams B, Lariviere JP, Hekmatyar SK, Kauppinen RA, Khan N, Swartz H (2012). Dynamic changes in oxygenation of intracranial tumor and contralateral brain during tumor growth and carbogen breathing: A multisite EPR oximetry with implantable resonators. J Magn Reson 214(1):22-28.
  • Described tumor bed dynamics after surgical resection of brain metastases and their implications for postoperative radiosurgery (Jarvis et. al. 2012).
    • Jarvis LA, Simmons NE, Bellerive M, Erkmen K, Eskey CJ, Gladstone DJ, Hug EB, Roberts DW, Hartford AC (2012, In press). Tumor bed dynamics after surgical resection of brain metastases: Implications for postoperative radiosurgery. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys
  • Demonstrated that ionizing radiation increases systemic nanoparticle accumulation in tumors (Giustiniet. al. 2012).
    • Giustini AJ, Petryk AA, Hoopes PJ (2012). Ionizing radiation increases systemic nanoparticle tumor accumulation. Nanomedicine 8(6):818-821. PMC3404191 [Available on 2013/8/1]
  • Reported high vascular delivery of EGF, but low receptor-binding rates. in AsPC-1 tumors relative to normal pancreas (Samkoe et. al. 2012).
    • Samkoe KS, Sexton K, Tichauer KM, Hextrum SK, Pardesi O, Davis SC, O'Hara JA, Hoopes PJ, Hasan T, Pogue BW (2012). High vascular delivery of EGF, but low receptor binding rate is observed in AsPC-1 tumors as compared to normal pancreas. Mol Imaging Biol 14(4):472-479.
  • Quantified in vivo receptor binding potential in tumor of a targeted contrast agent using a dual reporter approach (Tichauer et. al. 2012).
    • Tichauer KM, Samkoe KS, Sexton KJ, Gunn JR, Hasan T, Pogue BW (2012). Improved tumor contrast achieved by single time point dual‐reporter fluorescence imaging. J Biomed Opt 17(6):066001. PMC3381038 [Available on 2013/6/5]