UCSF Radiology and Radiation Oncology researchers team up to study HP 13C MRI in prostate cancer undergoing radiation therapy

Two faculty members in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at UC San Francisco recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) / National Cancer Institute (NCI) for an exciting research project to study hyperpolarized (HP) carbon-13 (13C) Metabolic MRI in prostate cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy (RT).

Robert Bok MD, PhD and Daniel Vigneron PhD are PIs of the project and received a five-year R01 grant entitled “Hyperpolarized C-13 MRI Techniques to Monitor Radiation Therapy Response in Prostate Cancer Patients”. Drs. Bok and Vigneron will partner with Anthony Wong MD, PhD, faculty member of the UCSF Department of Radiation Oncology, to investigate for the first time the use of HP 13C MRI to assess the metabolic response of human prostate tumors to RT.

“This clinical project builds on previous preclinical and clinical work at UCSF,” says Dr. Vigneron. “Preclinical studies of HP 13C MRI in a transgenic mouse model of prostate cancer have demonstrated the ability of this rapid, non-radioactive metabolic imaging technology to rapidly identify the key physiological responses of prostate tumors to RT.”

The preclinical results, which showed an early metabolic response within four to seven days, were also the result of a close collaboration between UCSF Radiology and UCSF Radiation Oncology. These results were recently published in the Red Journal, the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics (IJROBP). This new project also builds on researchers’ previous experience with clinical trials of HP 13C MRI in prostate cancer patients ranging from early-stage (active surveillance) to late-stage (castration-resistant, metastatic) disease. In fact, the first clinical feasibility studies of HP 13C MRI were conducted at UCSF in prostate cancer patients.

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Supported by the Hyperpolarized MRI Technology Resource Center (HMTRC) at UCSF, a National Center for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NCBIB) operated by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) (P41EB013598) under the direction of Jane Wang, MD , Medical Director, and Daniel Vigneron, PhD, PI was instrumental in this groundbreaking work. An additional NIH grant supported the preclinical work (R01CA214554).

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