Division of Medical Physics in Radiology
Prof. Dr. sc. techn. Mark E. Ladd
The Division of Medical Physics in Radiology
plays a pivotal role in all imaging-based diagnostic
and therapeutic procedures, developing
new and optimizing existing methods.
To improve and individualize cancer patient
treatment, the acquisition of quantitative
biomedical information about the metabolic,
physiologic, and functional parameters of tumors
and metastases is essential. We are, for
example, expanding the diagnostic value of
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by using a
very powerful magnetic fi eld (7 Tesla) to enable
the depiction of the distribution of sodium
(Na-23), oxygen (O-17), and even potassium
(K-39) in vivo. Through the extension of MRI
diffusion measurement techniques, we are
able to gain additional information about cellular
membranes and incoherent capillary fl ow
in tumor tissue. Computed tomography (CT)
techniques that allow dramatic reductions in
radiation dose to enable CT fl uoroscopy or that
reduce motion-induced artifacts are also in the
focus of our work. Furthermore, we are developing
noninvasive diagnostic methods for the
in vivo detection and functional characterization
of metastases on the micro-morphological
level. New targeted contrast agent designs
are being pursued that allow the attachment
of different imaging tags in a modular manner.
These concepts permit the use of multiple biophysical
techniques (MRI, CT, Positron Emission
Tomography (PET), optical imaging) to monitor
molecular processes in a relevant pharmacological
The Division will continue its role as a center of excellence in oncologic imaging methodology and expand and strengthen its support of the clinical divisions. Novel acquisition and reconstruction strategies are in development for multiple tomographic modalities that are targeted toward improving diagnostics and therapy monitoring, and molecular imaging methodologies are being pursued with a focus on metastatic processes, including the further development of multimodal small-animal tomographic systems. Major objectives for the future involve research projects with the 7 Tesla system and the newly established hybrid MRI-PET system. For example, we have a major effort underway to overcome the technical challenges of imaging the human torso at 7 Tesla. Success would allow us to translate techniques from the brain and take advantage of the enhanced sensitivity of the high magnetic fi eld in organs like the liver, kidneys, and prostate. As part of a concerted initiative across DKFZ divisions, we will be applying a multitude of imaging techniques to improve the characterization of prostate cancer and thus avoid unnecessary therapy.
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Mühlhausen U. et al. (2011). A novel PET tracer for the imaging of αvβ3 and αvβ5 integrins in experimental breast cancer bone metastases. Contrast Media & Molecular Imaging, 6, 413–420.