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  • R&E to Fund $3.7 Million in Grants

    June 01, 2014

    The R&E Foundation Board of Trustees has approved funding a record $3.7 million for grants.

    R&E Foundation logoEarlier this year, the R&E Foundation Board of Trustees, chaired by James P. Borgstede, M.D., approved funding for 92 grants totaling $3.7 million, the highest amount ever awarded by the Foundation.

    “The increasing number of applications submitted each year is evidence that the Foundation has established itself as a significant source of funds needed to drive radiology forward,” Dr. Borgstede said. “Despite the increase in applications, the Foundation has been able to maintain a 25 percent funding line.

    “This level of success would be impossible without the generous financial support received from countless individuals and the Foundation’s corporate and private practice partners,” Dr. Borgstede added. “We are incredibly grateful for their commitment to funding radiology’s future.”

    Through its annual funding of radiologic investigators, the RSNA R&E Foundation continues to advance RSNA’s mission to promote excellence in patient care and health delivery through education, research and technologic innovation.

    Learn more at RSNA.org/Foundation.

    Shahriar Yaghoubi, Ph.D., M.B.A.
    During the period of RSNA funding, Dr. Yaghoubi began work that led to the first Investigational New Drug approval from the U.S. FDA for an imaging reporter probe: [18F]FHBG.
    18F-FHBG head PET images superimposed over corresponding MRI images
    (Click to enlarge) [18F]FHBG head PET images superimposed over corresponding MRI images of therapeutic Targeted Cytolytic T Cells (CTL) illustrating increased [18F]FHBG accumulation after CTL infusions at the recurrent glioma tumor resection site. Images acquired approximately 2 hours after bolus intravenous [18F]FHBG injection.

    Past recipient spotlight

    Combining Academics and Business

    Researcher Develops Imaging Reporter Genes for Cellular Immunotherapy 

    Shahriar Yaghoubi, Ph.D., M.B.A., merged the fields of cellular immunotherapy for autoimmune diseases and molecular imaging to develop imaging reporter genes, which can help customize treatment for patients.

    With a 2003 Agfa HealthCare/RSNA Research Fellow grant and the guidance of three scientific advisors at Stanford University, including world renowned molecular imaging expert Sanjiv “Sam” Gambhir, M.D., Ph.D., and immunology experts C. Garrison Fathman, M.D. and Remi J. Creusot, Ph.D., Dr. Yaghoubi was able to pioneer this new combined field.

    “The fellowship allowed me to work on a clinical trial that for the first time demonstrated imaging of cells in humans with a reporter gene technology. My interests have always been in academia, however, Dr. Gambhir and I both recognized that pairing business with science and following a path of entrepreneurship would suit me well,” Dr. Yaghoubi said. It was that thinking that launched a startup company to commercialize molecular imaging technologies for the cell and gene therapy industries.

    That startup company is now known as CellSight Technologies, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company based in San Francisco. CellSight enables cell and gene therapies in living subjects through the use of imaging technologies, and offers custom imaging research services and prepackaged molecular imaging kits targeted at companies and academic institutions with the need for molecular imaging—Dr. Yaghoubi serves as the chief scientific officer.

    CellSight is developing and providing mainly PET imaging technologies for tracking cell and gene expression kinetics in pre-clinical as well as clinical studies. Currently, the pre-clinical studies are all translational and CellSight’s clients and collaborators are hopeful they will form the basis for imaging studies in clinical trials. Right now most of the projects are related to cancer, but the technologies are generally applicable to other diseases, such as cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.

    Dr. Yaghoubi remains active in research, currently serving as principal investigator on a joint National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grant between CellSight and the University of California, Los Angeles.

    Carolyn Wang, M.D.
    Dr. Wang’s program serves as a resource for contrast reaction management by using simulated scenarios.

    Past recipient spotlight

    R&E Education Grants Fuel the Development of Unique Online Resources

    ContrastRxn is a web-based program designed to teach contrast reaction management through interactive simulated scenarios for both trainees and practicing radiologists who need a refresher on how to manage contrast reactions. 

    With a 2012 RSNA/AUR/APDR/SCARD Education Research Development Grant, Carolyn Wang, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, has shown this interactive teaching module to be as effective as the more expensive hands-on, high-fidelity simulation training.

    “Due to the rarity of allergic-like reactions to contrast media agents, there is a lack of standardization in the training of radiologists in the management of these potentially life-threatening events,” Dr. Wang said.

    This web-based program is designed to enhance the training received by radiology residents and fellows using simulations of clinically relevant contrast reaction scenarios. The user navigates through various scenarios, determining the type of contrast reactions and deciding various treatment options, including administration of medication, and experiences real-time changes in patient status based on his/her choices. By exposing radiologists to simulations of contrast reactions they are less likely to compromise the safety of patients in the hospital and out-patient settings. It also has the potential to aid radiology residency programs to meet the milestone requirements for contrast reaction training in a widely available, cost-effective, and time efficient manner.

    ContrastRxn can be viewed at: ContrastRxn.com 

    James P. Borgstede, M.D.
    Number of RSNA R&E Grant Applications
    (Click to enlarge)
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