• Your Donations in Action

  • Below are just a few of the many success stories of R&E Foundation grant recipients.  

    Developing Quantitative MRI Biomarkers to Improve Pancreatic Cancer Treatment 
    Elizabeth Hecht, MDWith a 2013 Philips Healthcare/RSNA Research Seed Grant, Elizabeth M. Hecht, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology and Director, Cross-Sectional Vascular Imaging at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, will investigate whether Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) in combination with Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) can predict specific features of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) biology including mean vascular density, cell density and fibrosis. 

    “By correlating MRI with microscopic features of PDA, we expect to be able to develop quantitative MR imaging biomarkers for vascular permeability and desmoplasia.” said Dr. Hecht. “These biomarkers could be used to improve selection of chemotherapeutic agents and monitor synergistic therapies that target tumor stroma in an effort to enhance susceptibility of tumor to chemotherapy.” 

    Martin R. Prince, MD, PhD, Professor of Radiology at Cornell and Columbia Universities and Chief of MRI at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, will serve as scientific advisor on this exciting project. Dr. Prince, himself a past R&E grant recipient, knows firsthand how the Foundation’s grants can lead to a lifelong career in research—Together, Dr. Hecht and Dr. Prince are confident this pilot study will provide the preliminary data needed for future funding to explore the use of these new imaging biomarkers in clinical trials of therapies for pancreatic cancer.
    Curriculum Developed by Education Grant Recipient Adopted by Neuroradiology Fellowship Training Programs 
    Yvonne Lui, MD“The RSNA R&E Foundation Education Seed Grant I received in 2008 provided the resources for me to create, test and implement a curriculum and assessment tool which was eventually adopted by over twenty neuroradiology fellowship training programs across North America. Importantly, the RSNA Grant support I received fostered my interest in pursuing substantive, hypothesis-driven research. I now lead a multidisciplinary research program studying Traumatic Brain Injury with R01 funding from the NIH. I thank the Foundation for their support of my early research efforts.” 

    Yvonne Lui, MD
    Associate Professor of Radiology, Neuroradiology Section Chief
    NYU Langone Medical Center

    Predicting Outcomes of Endovascular Therapies for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) 
    Nichols and Kim (2)With a FUJIFILM Medical Systems U.S.A./RSNA Research Medical Student Grant, Holly Nichols, BS of Duke University, is working to develop a simple and clinically relevant calcium scoring system based on CT finding in order to assist decision-making for endovascular interventions in the lower extremity arteries.

    “If our calcium scoring system correlates significantly with immediate and long-term outcomes, interventional radiologists will be able to preoperatively identify lesions that are likely to respond poorly to angioplasty and stenting, thereby optimizing patient outcomes,” explains Holly. “This CT-based scoring system may eventually become standard for treatment planning for patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease.” Holly is performing this research under the scientific guidance of another R&E Foundation grant recipient—2013 GE Healthcare/RSNA Research Scholar Grant recipient, Charles Y. Kim, MD.
    $150,000 Investment Results in $1 Million to Combat Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
    David A Woodrum, MD, PHD2011-2013 RSNA Research Scholar Grant recipient David A. Woodrum, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., has been awarded a 5-year, $1 million National Institutes of Health R01 grant for his project, Regulation of Molecular Thermal Ablative Resistance in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)

    “HCC is a major global burden of morbidity and mortality and its incidence in the U.S. has tripled over the past 30 years,” Dr. Woodrum said. “Locoregional thermal ablative therapies are important treatment options for early-mid stage HCC, achieving short-term outcomes similar to surgery with less morbidity. However, high tumor recurrence rates after treatment of larger HCCs (up to 75 percent at 5 years) limit their applicability and overall survival remains poor for these patients. We will use a combination of cellular and molecular methods, novel imaging techniques and in vitro, in vivo and patient-based approaches to systematically investigate the mechanistic role of the novel heat stress induced MET/EGFR-PI3K-AKT axis in HCC thermal resistance, recurrence and tumor progression.”
    Improving Assessment of Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) Treatment Response 
    Pablo Valdes, PhDGBM is the most common and lethal primary brain tumor. Current standard of care to estimate disease progression and treatment response do not account for the multifaceted nature of tumor pathophysiology—a variety of processes occurring simultaneously including cellular proliferation, angiogenesis, edema, and hypoxic changes—the interplay of these mechanisms determines overall tissue response.

    With a Canon U.S.A./RSNA Research Medical Student Grant, Pablo A. Valdes, PhD, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, is working with Clifford J. Belden, MD, Chair, and Assistant Professor of Radiology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, to test the hypothesis that combining structural and physiological MRI information to create a multi-parametric response map (mPRM) biomarker will more accurately predict progression-free survival and median overall survival in recurrent GBM than standard radiographic criteria.

    Dr. Valdes is enthusiastic about the clinical implications of this research, “Successful completion of the proposed project will demonstrate an mPRM for improved clinical radiographic assessment of treatment response to help guide therapy decisions and affect patient survival rates.”