A team led by Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD at Stanford University has received a $100,000 research award from the Focused Ultrasound Foundation to develop an innovative early detection technique for tumor masses. The approach will use focused ultrasound to facilitate the release and detection of blood biomarkers.

As the team's funding application noted, "We hypothesize that MR image-guided focused ultrasound can be used to amplify tumor biomarkers (e.g., protein) in blood and help localize their release site. Ultrasound perturbation of cell membranes will cause an increase in biomarker release; MR image guidance allows for localized application of the sonication and determination of the site of biomarker release." Because the new approach merges in vivo imaging with in vitro diagnostics, the researchers believe it could mark a major advance in the development of clinically relevant personalized medicine.

Gambhir is Cancer Research Chair of the Department of Radiology at Stanford. His co-investigators are Aloma L. D'Souza, PhD, Kim Butts-Pauly, PhD and Pejman Ghanouni, MD, PhD.

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