Stony Brook University Cancer Center is creating a one-of-a-kind metabolomics and imaging translational research program that will transform what we know about cancer today.
Created with two back-to-back gifts from the Bahls totaling $13.75 million, the Kavita and Lalit Bahl Center for Metabolomics and Imaging will provide the human capital and resources to enable Stony Brook physicians and scientists to conduct revolutionary cancer research and make breakthroughs in diagnostic imaging. This work will propel the evolution of precision cancer care into the future of cancer medicine.
Building on Stony Brook’s Strengths
As part of Stony Brook University, Stony Brook Medicine has access to the University’s resources in the hard sciences, such as chemistry, physics and applied mathematics. Coupled with widely respected researchers in the fields of metabolomics, cancer biology, medical imaging and computational oncology the collaborative environment is boundless. Our multidisciplinary teams of researchers and physicians are uniquely positioned to conduct pioneering, transformative cancer research.
- Metabolomics and lipidomics
Stony Brook’s expertise in lipidomics and metabolism is nationally recognized. Metabolomics is an emerging field in cancer investigation and is considered the most promising area of focus for advancing precision-directed cancer treatment. By exploring the metabolic pathways of cancer cells, physicians and scientists can unlock their influence on the development and proliferation of disease.
- Advanced medical imaging
Stony Brook has a storied history - past and present - as a pioneer in diagnostic imaging. In the early 1970s, while a professor of Chemistry at Stony Brook, the late Paul Lauterbur developed a way to look inside living organisms without surgery or x-ray radiation and for this invention he shared a Nobel Prize in 2003. National Medal of Science recipient, and Emeritus Chemistry Professor Joanna Fowler Today, nationally renowned expert Mark Schweitzer, MD, Chair, Department of Radiology in the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, leads the advanced imaging activities at Stony Brook Medicine.
- Computational oncology
World renowned scientist Joel Saltz, MD, PhD, Cherith Chair, Department of Biomedical Informatics, will provide invaluable expertise in computational oncology as the research progresses. He has already make a significant impact at Stony Brook by developing an integrative biomedical informatics platform.
- Cancer biology
Research studies in cancer biology include biochemical, molecular, cellular, and genomic approaches, coupled with in vivo studies, to define and target metabolic pathways driving cancer growth.
- Clinical care
Stony Brook’s surgeons and physicians, who work within cancer-specific multidisciplinary teams, will be involved in assessing and explaining appropriate clinical trials for their patients.
Breaking New Ground in Cancer Research and Care
With increasing imaging and metabolomics technologies and additional expertise, the Bahl Center’s overall goals will be to:
- Discover diagnostic cancer biomarkers and monitor them during treatment
- Use molecular imaging capabilities to make necessary radiotracers for translational studies and clinical trials
- Discover new cellular targets for cancer treatment
- Identify complex metabolic pathways in the cancer cells of patients, enabling additional targeted and individualized therapy
- Use imaging technologies to enable clinicians to track a patient’s individual response to therapy
- Determine how epidemiological and lifestyle factors such as nutrition, obesity and tobacco use are linked to cancer risk as a way to devise preventive measures
Initially, the Bahl Center research was conducted in existing space in Stony Brook University School of Medicine laboratories in collaboration with other University laboratories. The center moved to the Medical and Research Translation (MART) building when it opened in 2019.
The Bahl Center facilities include:
- A cyclotron, which is used to create novel tracer molecules for PET scanning, which allows advanced diagnostics through molecular imaging within the human body
- Hot labs, where radioactive tracers for the cyclotron are prepared
- Two PET scanners
- Research laboratories
Stony Brook’s Yusuf Hannun, MD, is an international leader in lipid biochemistry and the role of this metabolism in cancers. Dr. Hannun, along with his wife, Lina Obeid, MD's (now deceased) studies, individually and together, have increased the understanding of the mechanism and regulatory strategies involved in lipid metabolism and their roles in cancers.
Yusuf Hannun, MD, Director of the Stony Brook Cancer Center, Vice Dean for Cancer Medicine and Joel Strum Kenny Professor in Cancer Research
Dr. Hannun is a renowned physician-scientist whose career has spanned more than 30 years as a cancer clinician and researcher investigating the lipid mediators of cancer cell signaling. He has published more than 500 scientific papers, edited seven books and holds seven patents.
Propelling Cancer Research and Treatment to the Next Level and Beyond
The totality of the Bahl gifts, both generous and visionary, will have a decades-long impact on cancer research, medical treatments and patient care.
“The creation of the Bahl Center is futuristic in the sense that we will take cancer research to the next level, with the vision of being a national leader in metabolomics and imaging research for cancer. Each of the research elements within the center will drive the cancer investigation so we can, with chaotic perfection, better understand many forms of cancer, create better diagnostics, improved therapeutics, and even devise new preventive methods.”
-- Yusuf A. Hannun, MD
To view a video about tthe Bahl Center, click here.