UCSF Radiology and Radiation Oncology Researchers Join Forces to Study HP 13C MRI in Prostate Cancer Undergoing Radiation Therapy

A composite of Drs. Daniel Vigneron, Anthony Wong and Robert Bok with a UCSF logo

Two faculty members in the UC San Francisco Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging recently received funding from 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 PI's of the project and were awarded a five-year, R01 grant titled "Hyperpolarized C-13 MRI Techniques to Monitor Radiation Therapy Response in Prostate Cancer Patients." Drs. Bok and Vigneron will collaborate with Anthony Wong MD, PhD, faculty member with the UCSF Department of Radiation Oncology to study the application of HP 13C MRI for the first time to evaluate the metabolic response of human prostate tumors to RT.

"This clinical project builds on previous preclinical and clinical work performed at UCSF," says Dr. Vigneron. "Preclinical investigations on HP 13C MRI in a transgenic murine model of prostate cancer demonstrated the ability of this fast, non-radioactive, metabolic imaging technology to rapidly detect key physiological responses of prostate tumors to RT." 

The preclinical findings showing early metabolic response within four to seven days were also the result of a close collaboration between UCSF Radiology and UCSF Radiation Oncology. These findings were recently published in Red Journal, the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics (IJROBP). This new project also builds on the researchers' previous experience with clinical trials of HP 13C MRI in prostate cancer patients, ranging from early stage (Active Surveillance) to late stage (castrate-resistant, metastatic) disease.  Indeed, the first proof-of-concept clinical investigations of HP 13C MRI were performed at UCSF in prostate cancer patients.

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Support from the Hyperpolarized MRI Technology Resource Center (HMTRC) at UCSF, a National Center for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NCBIB) funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) (P41EB013598) led by Jane Wang, MD, medical director and Daniel Vigneron, PhD, PI, has been crucial for this groundbreaking work. An additional NIH grant helped support the pre-clinical work (R01CA214554).