Michigan State University in East Lansing has been awarded a National Institutes of Health grant for $6.7 million to build a facility to develop new imaging agents and treatments for diseases, including cancer, that afflict both humans and large animals.
“The new Large Animal Facility for Imaging and Image-guided Therapies will be one of the few such medical diagnostic facilities in the world,” says project leader Anna Moore, assistant dean for the MSU College of Human Medicine and director of the Precision Health Program. “This bridges our existing outstanding basic science and small animal imaging infrastructure, and our human imaging capabilities.”
The facility is expected to open on the university’s main campus in 2024. It is part of a larger program in precision health that will lead to targeted therapies with image guidance. The heart of the facility will be a scanner provided by Siemens Healthineers that combines a PET scanner with an MRI scanner.
“(The facility) will accelerate the translation of our research in many diseases,” says Moore. “It will better link fundamental discoveries and clinical research — bench to bedside. This will foster innovation and scientific advances, creating new ways to diagnose and personalize the treatment of diseases with a real impact on human lives.”
The investigators from MSU and other institutions will be able to make significant advances in diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, including those with high mortality rates — cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The technology will allow researchers to identify where a patient’s cancer has spread and then guide treatment to those location using a combination of diagnostic and therapeutic compounds called “theranostics.”
Once the facility equipped with the Siemens scanner is fully operational, it will serve three purposes:
- Research into human and animal diseases, many of which are similar across species.
- Imaging of companion animals, such as dogs and cats, brought to the College of Veterinary Medicine for treatment.
- Provide human clinical trials of potential new imaging agents and therapies.
It also will allow MSU’s researchers and clinicians to join with other institutions in the quest for human health advancement as well as to teach basic science and medicine across the many colleges and departments at MSU.
“It will foster collaboration between investigators at MSU and beyond,” says Moore. “Because this facility will be one of a very few in the world. Collaborators from Henry Ford Health System, McLaren Heath Care, Karmanos Cancer Center, and other hospitals and academic institutions are looking forward to using this facility.”