Dr. Almeida graduated top of his class and with honors from The Chicago Medical School in 1991. He completed a residency and fellowship in Nuclear Medicine at the University of San Francisco, is certified by the American Board of Nuclear Medicine and the Certification Board of Nuclear Cardiology. He was in academic practice at the University of California San Francisco and private practice until 2005.
Dr. Almeida is one of the pioneers in the development and implementation of cross modality fusion for cancer imaging (SPECT, PET, CT and MRI) and PET/CT. He also worked for the Centers for Disease Control after 9/11 for several years as a physician and informatics specialist consultant.
In 2005, Dr. Almeida joined the University of Arizona, where he was Assistant Professor of Radiology & Radiation Oncology, and subsequently served as the Director of Nuclear Medicine for the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson until 2010. While at the University of Arizona, Dr. Almeida led the creation of the first combined PET/CT imaging program in southern Arizona and established the routine integration of PET/CT imaging into radiation oncology planning. He expanded the program through advanced telemedicine PACs systems to other Arizona and California cities. He has authored and participated in several publications in radiology, oncology and information science.
Now, as Medical Director of Phoenix Molecular Imaging and Southwest PET/CT Institute in Yuma, AZ, Dr. Almeida oversees clinics in Phoenix, Yuma, and Tucson, providing his extensive clinical expertise in PET/CT imaging. He continues his research, focused on applied medical informatics with emphasis on imaging and networking systems, optimization of fusion technology, and volumetric tumor assessment for radiation therapy planning. He actively participates in several oncology and neurologic clinical trials and is the principal investigator for a novel Carbon-11 PET agent for prostate cancer imaging.
Thoughts from Dr. Almeida
I have had the pleasure of working with the PCRI since 2012, participating in the annual conference and contributing to the Insights Newsletter with periodic educational articles. Over the past few years, I have come to know Dr. Mark Scholz and the PCRI team and have a deep appreciation for the work the PCRI is doing. This year, I am honored and delighted to join the PCRI Board of Directors/Medical Board.
The last few years have seen unparalleled innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Advanced imaging with tools such as multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI) and molecular PET/CT are providing new insights and answers to questions that no previous techniques could address. MpMRI, for example, may bring on a paradigm shift away from random biopsy toward imaged guided active surveillance for low-grade prostate cancer and targeted MRI guided biopsy. PET/CT imaging with agents such as C11-Acetate, C11-Choline, as well as various emerging prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA), and amino acid imaging agents are now able to detect recurrence of prostate cancer and metastatic disease much, much earlier, thereby offering more effective, targeted treatments.
One would hope that these new technological advances would be immediately adopted in prostate cancer management, but that is not necessarily the case. Many doctors simply do not know what is now available and how to access these techniques. Those that are aware are often unfamiliar with the full extent of their capabilities (and limitations). Adherence to standards needs to be addressed to ensure that these techniques are performed in a uniform manner with the utmost quality and precision. And finally, even the fully informed doctors may be reluctant to venture outside their comfort zone and embrace mpMRI as a substitute/adjunct for doing a random biopsy, or advanced PET/CT techniques to evaluate for early cancer recurrence.
Every effort needs be made to raise general awareness among patients and doctors alike about the advantages of these and other emerging advanced imaging techniques. In joining the Board, my goal is to promote the mission of the PCRI toward education and patient empowerment in prostate cancer, and to leverage my background to work with the PCRI team to help men, their families, and doctors navigate through the ever-evolving and expanding array of advanced diagnostic tools and treatment options.