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Stanford Cancer Imaging Training (SCIT) Program

Sandy A. Napel

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National Institutes of Health (NIH)
This proposal is a competing renewal for our longstanding Stanford Radiology cancer-imaging T32 training program. Drs. Sandy Napel, PhD, and Graham Sommer, MD, will lead this program, featuring 23 mentors with independent cancer-focused or -related funding, and 7 (5 internal / 2 external) distinguished program advisors. To reflect our expanded focus, now comprising cancer imaging, image-based cancer characterization, and image-guided cancer treatment, we have changed the program name to "Stanford Cancer Imaging Training (SCIT) Program," a 2-year program training 5 fellows (roughly half PhD / half MD) per year over a 5 year funding cycle. Our strengthened required coursework component includes 2 courses in the clinical/cancer sciences, 2 in imaging science, 1 in biostatistics, 1 in medical ethics ("Responsible Conduct of Research"), and attendance at a minimum of 6 multidisciplinary tumor boards. In addition, trainees can select from a multitude of electives offered by various Stanford University Departments, e.g., Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Bioengineering, Biomedical Informatics, and Cancer Systems Biology. Primary focus is participation in a mentored cancer-imaging research project aimed at publication in peer-reviewed journals, and presentation at National meetings. We especially feature "paired mentorship," in which each trainee is teamed with both a basic-science and physician mentor, to provide guidance in course and research-topic selection. Our mission has been, and continues to be, to train the next generation of researchers in the development and clinical translation of advanced techniques for cancer imaging and its application. In addition, we will recruit our trainees from a nationwide pool including women, candidates from underrepresented minorities or with disabilities, and from disadvantaged backgrounds, so as to increase diversity in the US research workforce. The need for SCIT is even greater now than when it began in 1993. Since our 2006 application, the field of radiology has dramatically changed and now, more than ever, plays a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients. Our Department is one of the very few that has been able to grow in response to this need and embrace what is now a multidisciplinary vision towards image-based cancer research. SCIT will leverage four existing NIH centers of excellence at Stanford: the In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC), the Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence and Translation (CCNE-T), the Center for Advanced Magnetic Resonance Technology (CAMRT), and the Stanford Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB). Since 1993, we have successfully graduated 32 postdoctoral (MD or PhD) trainees, all of whom were productive during their tenure in the program and many who continue academic activity in cancer imaging today. The 4 current trainees are pursuing research in MR imaging of breast cancer, angiogenesis imaging with nanoparticles, developing MR probes for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and cultivating advanced instrumentation for CT and molecular imaging of cancer.

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