“Working together, we can improve imaging techniques to make a tremendous impact on lung cancer in terms of figuring out how to diagnose it better, how to treat patients and how we monitor lung cancer treatments.” – Larry Schwartz, MD
At a time when most researchers could only see limited uses for CT scans and MRIs, Dr. Larry Schwartz saw more. A scientific visionary, Dr. Schwartz understood their greater potential and set out to develop novel uses for these imaging tools.
Today, Dr. Schwartz, Chair of Radiology at Columbia University, is best known for developing CT and MRI imaging techniques that have opened new doors for the early detection and treatment of cancer. He has also encouraged the expansion of the technical capabilities of imaging tools through national collaborative efforts.
The findings from Dr. Schwartz’s laboratory combined with the work of national collaborations have played critical roles in the development of breakthrough imaging techniques. Though it was barely imaginable thirty years ago, there are now imaging tools that can reliably detect cell metabolism and cell proliferation. And more lifesaving technologies are on the horizon, says Dr. Schwartz.
Progress in the field of imaging is particularly important in the early detection and treatment of lung cancer because lung biopsies are invasive and potentially dangerous. “We need to find new biomarkers to be able to conduct non-invasive biopsies to determine optimal treatment plans and to track progress of lung cancer treatments,” explains Dr. Schwartz.
Currently, Dr. Schwartz’s team is developing imaging techniques to quantify changes in lung cancer. These techniques, which can show if the lung cancer has improved or worsened, can then be used in clinical trials to help determine the efficacy of new drugs.
Despite the low level of federal funding for lung cancer, we are on the cusp of major breakthroughs in lung cancer early detection and treatment, says Dr. Schwartz.
This underscores the importance of financial support from organizations like LUNGevity. “Working together, we can improve imaging techniques to make a tremendous impact on lung cancer in terms of figuring out how to diagnose it better, how to treat patients and how we monitor lung cancer treatments,” he says.
As a member of LUNGevity’s Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Schwartz puts his visionary skills toward reviewing translational research grants and setting LUNGevity’s research strategy.