New Double-Contrast MRI Technique Detects Small Tumors

This novel MRI technique being investigated at UC Davis has the potential to promote earlier detection of tumors.

MRI is commonly used to identify tumors. New research at UC Davis has developed a double-contrast MRI technique to detect small tumors. This technique makes use of magnetic resonance tuning – a phenomenon wherein two nanoscale magnetic elements interact. One enhances the signal, and one quenches the signal. The degree to which quenching occurs depends on the distance between the two elements, according to previous research.

This new research created a probe that generates two magnetic resonance signals that work to suppress each other, until they reach a target area, such as tumor tissue. Then, they both increase contrast between the tumor and surrounding tissue, increasing visibility. Utilizing this technique has the potential to generate a variety of new precise, non-invasive methods of capturing biological phenomena.

A novel imaging analysis software was developed alongside this technique, and so far, this technology has enhanced researchers’ identification of brain tumors in a mouse model. The new imaging system has been dubbed “double-contrast enhanced subtraction imaging” or DESI. It processes the data, then reconstructs images. The current research was conducted in cultures of brain and prostate cancer cells and in mice.

MRI probes currently on the market generally show an MRI signal for tumors that is up to twice as strong as from normal tissue, allowing for identification of such irregular tissues. However, this new dual-contrast nanoprobe has shown signals for tumors up to ten times as high as that of normal tissue. This vastly increases researchers’ ability to identify tumors compared to regular probes.

The new technology has shown promising initial results, but there remains a need to ensure the chemicals used are safe for human and animal use, and researchers need to be able to scale up production, before this product can move forward.

Senior author Yuanpei Li, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Comprehensive Cancer Center said:

“It’s a significant advance. This could help detect very small early-stage tumors.”

Via: Science Daily

For Further Information

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