About the Canary Center at Stanford

Saving Lives through Cancer Early Detection

At the Canary Center, researchers from various disciplines work together to build new tools for cancer early detection. We envision a two-stage diagnostic strategy to detect cancer at its earliest, most curable stage. This strategy consists of a screening test as a first step, to identify individuals who are likely to have aggressive cancer (think for example of a biomarker test in blood, urine, saliva, etc.), followed by a molecular imaging test as a second step, to localize and characterize the cancer. The Canary Center is the first in the world to integrate research on both in vivo and in vitro diagnostics to deliver these tests. A two-stage approach to early cancer diagnosis is critical for helping to avoid unnecessary procedures, while still maintaining the sensitivity needed to identify as many cases of cancer as possible.

To support achieving this diagnostic strategy, the Canary Center houses four state-of-the-art core facilities: (1) Proteomics Core, (2) Cell and Molecular Biology Core, (3) Chemistry Core, and (4) Preclinical Imaging Core. The Proteomics Core is designed to accommodate numerous technologies including several mass spectrometry platforms dedicated to the discovery, verification, and validation of biomarkers and imaging targets for early cancer detection. This core includes a Bioinformatics Resource devoted to developing solutions for collaborative translational research, including the implementation of software platforms for specimen tracking and cross-platform data analysis, sharing, and storage. The Cell and Molecular Biology Core is equipped with cutting-edge shared resources for cell culture, microscopy, and molecular biology. The Chemistry Core is dedicated to the development of molecular imaging agents for multiple modalities, including PET, ultrasound, MRI, photoacoustic, and optical imaging tests. The Preclinical Imaging Core develops infrastructure, expertise, and tools to perform multimodality in vivo imaging primarily for preclinical research.

The Canary Center's main research areas include: cancer biomarker discovery and validation, development of novel technologies and point-of-care diagnostics, mathematical modeling of cancer, development of new imaging techniques and molecular imaging probes, and translation of new diagnostic approaches into clinical trials. Our world-class research facility will continue to expand over the next few years, growing our faculty to ten full members and over 30 associate members, increasing our research space and establishing a clinical research facility, and building new partnerships with companies and institutions worldwide.