Excavating Data From CT Scans Wins Scientist NIH Innovator Grant

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An MD Anderson physician-scientist who uses a mathematical program to pull lung function data from CT scans in hopes of improving treatment of lung cancer and other diseases has won an NIH Director's New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health.

The award provides $1.5 million over five years to Thomas Guerrero, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in Radiation Oncology. Guerrero and colleagues have developed a mathematical program -- an algorithm -- designed to more accurately identify damaged areas of the lung.

"Our goal for lung cancer is to reduce toxicity caused when patients receive radiotherapy, and to characterize chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Our research methods produce images of the distribution of lung function, or lack of lung function, throughout the lung in these patients," Guerrero says. The grant will fund a lung cancer clinical trial and a study of lung function characterization in COPD.

"Dr. Guerrero's work represents a novel, noninvasive imaging method for better understanding of lung function, which will enable us to further personalize radiation treatment planning to provide the most effective and the safest treatment of lung cancer," says Thomas Buchholz, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology.  

The NIH announced 52 awards Thursday granted out of 2,200 applications.

"NIH is pleased to be supporting early-stage investigators from across the country who are taking considered risks in a wide range of areas in order to accelerate research," says Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health. "We look forward to the results of their work."

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