The ultimate mission of CMIR is to translate basic expertise into finding and characterizing molecular abnormalities in humans. A number of imaging paradigms developed at the CMIR have already been brought into clinical trials in humans. A monocrystalline iron oxide nanoparticle formulation is currently in phase IV trials. A long circulating graft copolymer developed at CMIR has successfully undergone phase I trials at MGH-CMIR. These and future trials demonstrate the ability of CMIR to go from idea to patient.
Outcomes research, however, is needed to determine which methods are cheapest, save the most lives, and result in the least suffering. Such analysis helps determine if a new imaging technique is merely a scientific novelty in humans, or if it will be widely employed to allow earlier detection of disease (including pre-disease states) and earlier, more direct evaluation of therapy.