Molecular Imaging & Therapy Program

Hoag’s Molecular Imaging & Therapy (MIT) Program has been recognized as one of only 48 Radiopharmaceutical Therapy Centers of Excellence in the world. 

Through this program, Hoag is helping pioneer the most sensitive imaging methods to date to advance research and applications of molecular imaging and therapy in the treatment of cancer patients. These trials are expected to play a significant role in cancer detection, individualized treatment and drug development. The future of cancer detection and therapy is offered today at Hoag.

What is Molecular Imaging & Therapy?

A target is identified on specific cancer cells.  Then a binding agent is designed to that target, similar to a key fitting into a lock. 

If the “key” is linked to a radioisotope that emits a small amount of radiation, the key can be used to detect and visualize where the cancer cells are in the body.  That is molecular imaging.  Below is a side by side comparison of traditional CT imaging on the left vs. molecular imaging on the right. Molecular imaging, which utilizes PET/CT imaging in combination with specially designed molecules that bind to targets on cancer cells, found cancer unlike traditional CT imaging.


If the “key” is linked to a radioisotope that emits a large amount of radiation, the key can be used to kill cancer cells.  That is molecular therapy.  Together, molecular imaging and therapy is a rapidly growing discipline allowing sensitive detection and effective treatment of a growing number of cancers.  Below is an example of a patient undergoing molecular therapy of prostate cancer.  In this patient, 2 treatments were able to substantially decrease the extent of disease.

“Molecular imaging can direct oncologists right to a cancer, rather than to where we guess it might be,” said Dr. Ulaner, MD, PhD, FACNM. “Then molecular therapy allows us to treat patients is ways that were never available before.”

Meet the Team

Hoag’s Molecular Imaging & Therapy team is paving new paths for promising cancer imaging and therapy.

FDA-Approved Molecular Imaging & Therapy

Hoag is committed to offering the most state-of-the art molecular imaging and therapy agents.

FDA-approved molecular imaging and therapies available at Hoag include: 

  1. Pylarify – This molecular imaging agent targets Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA), present in nearly every prostate cancer cell.  Patients with prostate cancer may benefit from localization of disease with this agent.
  2. Cerianna – This molecular imaging agent targets Estrogen Receptor, present on 80% of breast cancers. Cerianna may be used to hep determine if therapies directed at the Estrogen Receptor will or will not be effective.
  3. NETSPOT and DETECTNET – These molecular imaging agents target the Somatostatin Receptor (SSTR), present on neuroendocrine tumors.  Patients with neuroendocrine tumors may benefit from localization of disease with these agents.  
  4. Pluvicto® – This Molecular Therapy targets the Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) present in nearly every prostate cancer cell.  Patients with metastatic prostate cancer who have previously received androgen receptor therapies and chemotherapy may be eligible for Pluvicto therapy.
  5. Lutathera® – This Molecular Therapy targets the Somatostatin Receptor (SSTR) present in nearly every neuroendocrine tumor cell.  Patients with metastatic neuroendocrine tumors who have previously received sandostatin therapy may be eligible for Pluvicto therapy.

Clinical Trials

Hoag is committed to leading the way in state-of-the art technologies and advanced treatment options. Our Molecular Imaging and Therapy center offers patients clinical trials for access to next-generation agents. Hoag’s MIT program has multiple clinical trials open for patients with breast cancer, prostate cancer, neuroendocrine tumors, myeloma, and other malignancies. These trials are some of the first and only trials of their kind in California and even the United States.  

Please click here to link to our clinical trials site. 

Contact Us

To inquire about a molecular imaging or molecular therapy clinical trial, please call 949-557-0285.