June 7, 2023
Reston, Virginia—The SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund is excited to announce that Amir Iravani, MD, associate professor of radiology in the Department of Radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Washington, has been selected as the recipient of a $1,000,000 SNMMI Mars Shot Fund Grant. The grants recognize individuals who have made transformative impact in the field and elevated the value of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.
|Amir Iravani, MD|
The grant is one of five awarded in the inaugural year of the new SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund, which was established to provide resources that translate visionary nuclear medicine imaging, radiopharmaceutical therapy and data science research or projects into tools or treatments that will help improve the lives of patients.
Iravani’s Mars Shot grant was awarded based on his proposal, “Phase II trial of biomarker-modulated PSMA Theranostics.”
Lu-177 PSMA was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration following the results of the phase III VISION trial, which demonstrated improvement in the overall survival of patients with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer who progressed after chemotherapy and androgen-receptor pathway inhibitors compared to the standard of care. However, the response to Lu-177 PSMA varied widely among patients; specific patients with higher PSMA expression on pre-treatment PSMA PET/CT had better outcomes than those with lower target expression, suggesting the predictive ability of this molecular imaging biomarker.
“Intensification of treatment based on molecular imaging biomarkers to improve the outcome of those who are expected to have poorer outcomes is desirable,” Iravani said. “This study aims to personalize the treatment schedule based on the molecular imaging biomarkers and understand the radiation dose-response relationship in normal organs and tumor tissues. This study closely aligns with the Mars Shot initiative by investigating a high-priority high-impact research question about the promise of tailoring treatment schedules using the potential of precision theranostics.”
Iravani is a nuclear medicine physician and associate professor at the Department of Radiology, University of Washington School of Medicine, and director of theranostics at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. His research focuses on characterizing tumor biology by molecular imaging and utilizing quantitative imaging in optimizing and personalizing the therapeutic nuclear medicine in oncology and theranostics. He has a special interest in the evolving field of targeted radiopharmaceutical therapy in prostate cancer, especially PSMA theranostics. Since its early introduction to clinical research and during his prior role at Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, he has been actively involved in developing and conducting multiple practice-changing research projects including ProPSMA, LuPSMA and TheraP trials. He is currently PI of multiple clinical trials and serves on multiple national committees to expand the field of theranostics, including the board of directors of the SNMMI Therapy Center of Excellence, SNMMI Therapy Clinical Trial Network and NCI NET Dosimetry working group. He received his MD from Tehran University of Medical Sciences, followed by residency training in internal medicine and nuclear medicine at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in Australia, where he is a fellow. He completed a fellowship in Molecular Imaging and Radionuclide Therapy at Peter MacCallum Cancer Center.
About the SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund
The ‘Mars Shot for Nuclear Medicine, Molecular Imaging, and Molecularly Targeted Radiopharmaceutical Therapy’ is a forward-looking glimpse into the future of nuclear medicine. Its goal is to provide resources for the translation of visionary nuclear medicine imaging, radiopharmaceutical therapy, and data science research or projects into tools or treatments helping improve the lives of patients.
About the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to advancing nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, vital elements of precision medicine that allow diagnosis and treatment to be tailored to individual patients in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.
SNMMI’s members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit www.snmmi.org.