At Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Dr. Coolens and her team work on three main topics:
- Development and validation of functional imaging techniques for imaging of tumor micro-vascularity and radiation therapy response. This has been successful in dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) CT and MRI and is being further investigated for metabolic imaging using PET-MRI. The validation of these techniques in done in silico as well as through development of functional testing frameworks and 3D-printed biological phantoms.
- Pharmaco-kinetic and fluid dynamic modeling of solute transport to probe the tumor microenvironment and assess biological features such as tumor hypoxia and efficacy of drug delivery. This spans use of contrast agents for quantitative imaging as well as larger weight molecules used in immunotherapy and nanoparticle-based therapeutics.
- Clinical trials, focused on CNS and liver where the above techniques can be assessed for their prognostic ability to personalize cancer treatment and elucidate best management strategies based on early response assessment and tumor control evaluation.