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Onco-Imaging and Biotechnology Program (OIB)

The broad goal of the OIB Program is to develop and assess quantitative systems and technologies that improve detection, clinical management, and quality of life for cancer patients. OIB is strongly interdisciplinary, integrating basic scientists with technologists and clinicians and is focused around 3 key themes. Critically, each of the themes includes basic science, technology development, and translational research activities spanning from animal models to human subjects in various malignancies, including  cancers of the breast, skin, GI, oral cavity, prostate, and brain. We also apply emerging technologies in multi-center and cooperative group clinical trials in order to standardize and validate methods and endpoints for improved cancer detection and clinical management. These themes are:

Theme 1: Cancer imaging and treatment using Biophotonics and Biomedical Optics technologies. Many of these technologies are custom-designed and fabricated within the Laser Microbeam and Medical Program (LAMMP) and the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics (LFD), NIH P41 Biomedical Technology Centers in the Beckman Laser Institute and the Department of Biomedical Engineering. These technologies include a broad range of non-linear optical microscopies (e.g. Raman, Fluorescence, and Harmonic generation techniques), Laser Microbeams, Optical Coherence Tomography, Acousto-Optic Imaging and Elastography, Laser Speckle Imaging, Spatial Frequency Domain Imaging, and Diffuse Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging.

Theme 2: Cancer imaging and treatment using MRI, Nuclear, X-Ray, multi-Modality technologies. We develop and validate multi-modality imaging and spectroscopy technologies combining various approaches such as MRI-Optics, MRI-Nuclear, and X-Ray/CT platforms. The goal of multi-modality devices is to combine anatomical landmarks with molecular signatures for improved detection, determination, and prediction of therapeutic response.

Theme 3: Cancer detection and therapy using molecular, cellular, and material technologies. We test nano- and microfluidic technologies and integrated “lab-on-a-chip” and “body-on-a-chip” systems to advance cellular and molecular diagnostics for improved cancer detection and therapy. Importantly, the new technologies and methods for engineering cellular systems we are developing are optimized such that their integration into multi-system platforms allows visualization using many of the technologies described above. These allow us to examine the complex dynamics between cells, vasculature and extracellular matrix. These in vitro engineered tissues are used to advance our understanding of the disease process and as a test bed to determine response to therapy.

OIB leadership works to leverage these technologies to improve cancer detection, clinical management and patient quality of life. Our specific aims are to:

1)    Develop novel tools for cancer detection and treatment. These tools span the technology spectrum from body-on-a-chip high-throughput drug screening platforms, through nano-scale microfluidic biomarker detectors, to non-linear optical spectroscopy, to multi-modality (optical, nuclear, MRI and X-ray/CT) technologies.

2)    Foster multi-disciplinary collaborations to validate these tools in preclinical cancer models. OIB members collaborate extensively with basic researchers and clinician/scientists to validate new technologies in pre-clinical models that range from simple cell culture, through more complex organoid systems, to mouse models and correlative/retrospective clinical studies.

3)    Validate novel technologies in multi-center and cooperative group clinical trials. OIB has always had, and continues to have, a very strong clinical trials program, in which new technologies are rigorously tested in multi-center and cooperative group trials. Technology developed at UC Irvine has already been adopted by many clinical centers nationwide and we will continue to facilitate the adoption of newly-emerging devices and techniques.


Hughes Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D.
   Christopher C. Hughes, Ph.D.   Bruce J. Tromberg, Ph.D.

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