Cancer cells have secrets. And Dr. Gary Ulaner aims to unlock them.

Peering deep into the human body with a clarity traditional scans can’t match, molecular imaging can find tiny cancers that standard scans are blind to. The technology powering this uber-vision also can be harnessed to search out and destroy sneaky cancer cells where they hide — dangling the promise of more individualized and effective cancer treatments in the near future.

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian lured Ulaner from one of the nation’s best cancer research hospitals — Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City — last fall with an irresistible pitch: Create the Hoag Molecular Imaging and Therapy Program and pursue what you think is vital. To that end, several clinical trials are now recruiting patients with prostate, breast and bone marrow cancer at the Newport Beach hospital — just as people have a newfound appreciation for what clinical trials can deliver.