NCI’s Clarke Mourned
Dr. Laurence P. Clarke, chief of the Image Technology Development Branch in NCI’s Cancer Imaging Program, died Apr. 16 in Florida from acute myeloid leukemia. He was a leader in medical imaging technology and championed bringing quantitative imaging into clinical trials.
Clarke’s career spanned nearly 40 years, two continents and both academic and government service. He earned his Ph.D. in medical physics at National University of Ireland in 1978, then crossed the Atlantic to begin a career in academia, contributing to student advancement at the University of South Florida and H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, as well as at the University of Miami, and more recently as an adjunct professor at George Washington University. In 1999, Clarke left academia to enter government service at NCI. He continued to mentor many associates and scientists through the avenues of clinical imaging technologies during his government career.
One of his visions was development of large public databases such as the Lung Imaging Database Consortium and Reference Image Database for Evaluation of Response. These have been valuable for benchmarking quantitative imaging tools for measuring response to therapy. This led to creation of the Quantitative Imaging Network in 2008, in which imaging scientists and oncologists from universities across the country participate in the development of tools and methods to extract reliable quantitative information from medical images in order to predict or measure patients’ response to cancer therapies.
Clarke was a long-standing fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and a recently inducted fellow in SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. In addition, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering inducted him into its college of fellows for outstanding contributions to the advancement of biomedical imaging, especially in the realm of cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Clarke is survived by his wife, Alice; daughters Allisun and Laura; sons-in-law Edward Sfeir and Edward Jose and four grandchildren.