$8 Million Grant Awarded to Further Cancer Research

Today, the war against cancer is being fought in new ways, with technology among the weapons on the front lines.

Recently, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded Stony Brook Medicine’s Joel Saltz, MD, PhD, together with a team of researchers from the University of Arkansas and Emory University, an $8 million grant. The team will use the grant over the next five years to develop a combined radiology/pathology data collection that will enable research to help develop new diagnostics and novel ways to steer cancer treatment. Dr. Saltz is leading the pathology component of the project.

Yusuf Hannun, MD, Director of the Stony Brook University Cancer Center, Vice Dean for Cancer Medicine and Joel Strum Kenny Professor in Cancer Research, believes the collaboration has great potential.

“This is a very important effort that builds on several areas of outstanding strengths at the Cancer Center,” said Dr. Hannun.

Dr. Saltz is the Vice President for Clinical Informatics, and founder and Cherith Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics, which is jointly administered by the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. He is also Associate Director for Cancer Informatics at Stony Brook Cancer Center.

Dr. Saltz is also a pioneer in the biomedical informatics field, which uses computational methods to extract meaning from large data sets. His groundbreaking work in digital image archiving systems for pathology images led to the FDA’s approval of using digital surgical pathology slides for interpretations.

The work is expected to dramatically improve the NCI’s Cancer Imaging Archive, a major resource for cancer researchers and clinicians, by enabling digital pathology imaging to enhance the existing radiology effort.

“Cancer is a complex disease state. Our ability to anticipate and steer treatment results will require us to combine information from multiple sources,” said Dr. Saltz. “Digital data collection will make that information more readily available. By gathering more information, researchers can understand better what’s happening, what might happen and how best to treat cancer.”