One of the major challenges in cancer treatment today is that we do not know who will benefit from a particular drug. Since only about half the patients who receive a typical anti-cancer drug benefit and the others just suffer side effects, knowing whether or not a patient's tumor is responding to a drug can bring us one step closer to truly personalized medicine – tailoring therapies to the patients who will benefit and not wasting time and resources on treatments that will be ineffective. Promising new anti-cancer treatments including vascular inhibitors and immunotherapy have made traditional diagnostic biomarkers insufficient because the cytostatic rather than cytotoxic nature of these therapies do no longer result in a simple reduction in tumor size. Moreover, following these therapies, the changes in tumor size do no longer correlate with survival and there is a critical need for new accurate biomarkers to assess the response to anti-cancer therapy.
The goal of our research group is to find predictive and prognostic imaging-based biomarkers for better identification of judicious, patient-specific treatments and by this define how best to move the field of cancer therapy forward. The main focus of the research group is the development and implementation of advanced MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) techniques that uncover new, functional information of the disease during repeated monitoring. This includes perfusion, diffusion, mechanical forces and subsequent changes in vascular and morphologic structure.