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Research Interests

Our investigations on human malignancies work on the interface between Pathology and Radiology and attempt to establish alternative pathological procedures based on the current radiological technologies in general, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and imaging (MRI) techniques in particular. The aims of our research are to:

  1. Investigate metabolic signatures for the diagnosis and prognostication of human malignancies which may be more sensitive and specific than those now available in clinic
  2. Establish adjunct MRS and MRI protocols that may improve the accuracy of clinical pathology
  3. Develop linkages between ex vivo tumor evaluation and in vivo non-invasive diagnosis with MR technologies

Research Projects

Currently, our projects, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, involve human prostate, breast cancer and brain tumors. We analyze MR spectra of intact tissue specimens and correlate cellular metabolites thus measured with quantitative pathology assisted by immunochemistry, computer image and histomorphometry analyses. In order to understand the functions and significance of the metabolites with regards tumor development and progression, we engage in molecular tumor biology analyses with the assistance of laser capture microdissection (LCM), quantitative real time PCR, etc. On the imaging front, we are investigating the utility of high field (9.4T) MRI and MR microscopy on prostatectomy specimens for identification of cancer foci that may be sampled and evaluated by clinical pathology.

Group Members

  • Leo L. Cheng, PhD


Metabolomic Imaging for Human Prostate Cancer Detection
Chin-Lee Wu, Kate W. Jordan, Eva M. Ratai, Jinhua Sheng, Christen B. Adkins, Elita M. DeFeo, Bruce G. Jenkins, Leslie Ying, W. Scott McDougal, and Leo L. Cheng

Sci Transl Med 27 January 2010 2:16ra8. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3000513