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article imageMulticolored MRI scanners improve disease detection

By Tim Sandle     Feb 3, 2018 in Health
A new generation of MRI scanners are being developed to improve the detection of diseases and thus improve patient diagnosis. These scanners use multicolored light for this improved sensitivity and detection.
The development comes from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Here medical technologist have come up with a method to transform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) into multicolor. The new method uses two colors simultaneously, which enables medics to map the internal organs from a single scan, thereby reducing the need to run multiple scans.
With the new technology the two different contrast agents are made up of one agent which is specifically designed to target diseased tissue; and a second agent which functions to show healthy tissue. The idea is to provide an immediate comparison of how each agent distributes in the same patient, thereby showing the extent of any diseases tissue.
Conventional MRI technologies are based on a single contrast agent. This is injected into a patient’s veins to create images. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields, electric field gradients, and radio waves to generate images of the organs in the body. The scanners form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body in both health and disease.
File photo: An MRI technologist  shows scans on the monitors.
File photo: An MRI technologist, shows scans on the monitors.
Discussing the new development, lead researcher Dr. Chris Flask told Bioscience Technology: “The method we developed enables, for the first time, the simultaneous detection of two different MRI contrast agents.”
The researcher adds: “This multi-agent detection capability has the potential to transform molecular imaging, as it provides a critical translational pathway for studies in patients.”
A further advantage with the technology is that it fits with a new, emerging generation of molecular therapies. Such include, for example, agents designed for targeting specific biological markers, which are associated with diseases.
At the current stage of development, the researchers are using the scanner to investigate the scope and practical applications for the new MRI technology. This will include cancer, genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, and metabolic diseases like diabetes.
The research to date has been published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, with the article headed “Dual Contrast - Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting (DC-MRF): A Platform for Simultaneous Quantification of Multiple MRI Contrast Agents.”
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