Hampton University Becomes a Member of the National Cancer Institute’s QIN and Secures $2 Million Contract for Cancer Imaging Research and Proton Therapy

HAMPTON, Va (Mar. 11, 2019) — Hampton University is pleased to announce that it has been accepted as an Associate Member of Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute’s (HUPTI) QIN membership will provide significant additional resources for continued development, and success of cancer research efforts at our institution.

For the past four years, HUPTI has been working with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored project on the Path to Excellence and Innovation for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in conjunction with the President’s White House Initiative on HBCUs, Executive Order #13779. The purpose was to gain programmatic support of the clinical translational research efforts at HUPTI that were important to the Institute’s mission. This important cancer research currently includes multiple clinical research trials, research in radiobiological aspects of proton therapy, proton, and other hadron-stimulated atomic-medicine, research in the development of methods and technologies for gated therapy delivery, and quantitative imaging research.

Due in part to the tireless work of Ms. Diane Frasier, Head of Contracting Activity and Director, Office of Acquisitions and Logistics Management for the National Institute of Health (NIH), Hampton University was given the opportunity to present its capabilities for potential cancer research and treatment opportunities at the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute before Institute and Centers senior program managers. “Hampton University became the first HBCU to become a part of this prestigious network of research institutions” said Bill Thomas, Associate VP of Governmental Relations at Hampton University. “The QIN promotes research, development and clinical validation of quantitative imaging tools and methods for cancer diagnosis.”

The recent imaging sciences projects have their roots in the clinical practice of HUPTI. Innovations in precision medicine, in state-of-the-art imaging technologies for cancer research and therapy, are necessary to take full advantage of the cancer targeting precision of protons. Increased accuracy of proton therapy delivery dictates requirements on (1) treatment target localization, (2) precise identification of borders between the treatment target and surrounding healthy tissues, (3) proton physical range accuracy, and (4) proton biological dose delivery accuracy. One can achieve the stated benefits of proton therapy only if all four of these aspects of delivery are precisely controlled.

These objectives can be achieved through the use of quantitative imaging techniques and analysis prior, during, and after proton therapy delivery. HUPTI’s research in quantitative imaging is focused on improving industry standard methods and technologies. These projects require unhindered access to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

HUPTI, in collaboration with the Skin of Color Research Institute at Hampton University, and an industry trailblazer in skin care products, Simplicity Hair Oil (S.H.O.), has also proposed a research program to study prevention, reduction, and recovery of radiation-damaged skin from side effects of radiation therapy. This program, too, will utilize quantitative MRI imaging analysis and methods throughout the project.

Building on the previous success of securing the Commonwealth of Virginia’s support of transitional cancer research at HUPTI, and on the new anticipated support of research efforts via their membership in QIN, HUPTI has applied for programmatic research funding support of this research from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Most importantly, with the congressional support and leadership provided by Senator Tim Kaine, Senator Mark Warner and Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott, Congressman Wittman, and Congresswoman Elaine Luria, Hampton University has leveraged this technological innovation with state government and private industry.

Hampton University is also pleased to announce receipt of a $2,000,000 contract from the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Health to assist in further developing research resources at HUPTI in support of various projects, including MRI imaging capability at HUPTI. “We would like to thank the Cancer Imaging Program at the National Cancer Institute for the unique resources and exciting research collaboration opportunities through the QIN. We are looking forward to an extended fruitful relationship with the NCI” said Vahagn Nazaryan, Ph.D., HUPTI’s Executive Director.

The QIN membership and the unique research collaboration partnership opportunities it provides have been of significance in HUPTI’s successful contract award.

For additional information, please call (757) 727-5310 or email bill.thomas@hamptonu.edu