Department of radiology and Radiological Science

Thoracic Radiology Research

James G. Ravenel, M.D.

Our principal areas of research interest include the improved measurement of tumor nodules as a means of predicting malignancy or assessing treatment response in suspected cases of lung cancer and  the development of CT imaging biomarkers that could help diagnose interstitial lung disease (eg, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis).

Current methods of measuring tumor response, ie, using calipers to determine tumor size, provide a general sense of whether a tumor is responding but not sufficiently strong or quantitative information to justify a decision to stop or switch treatment. A method  to determine early whether a treatment is working is sorely needed. Imaging biomarkers of tumor response would provide physicians the quantitative proof they need to decide to cease a first-line treatment and move to a second-line therapy, potentially sparing the patient adverse effects from a futile therapy and allowing for the initiation of a treatment that could be more efficacious. Studies are under way using a computer to outline the lesion of interest on the CT scan so that a volume or size can be created. This technique is highly reproducible but has not yet been shown to be efficacious.

Likewise, quantitative imaging biomarkers are needed for the definitive diagnosis of interstitial lung diseases such as sclerodoma or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Specifically, patterns on CT could suggest or rule out interstitial lung disease. However, not all of these changes on CT are visible to the naked eye but, with the aid of a computer, the quantitative signals can be tracked to monitor for any changes. Tracking such quantitative signaling could also be used to determine whether a drug is having its intended effect and to help assess the efficacy of a drug on clinical trial.

For a full list of lung cancer trials, click here.

For a full list of pulmonary clinical trials, click here.


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