Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
PZ HTL SA
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING

Calibration Tools Used to Enhance Ultralow Field MRI Technology

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 16 Dec 2013
Image: NIST physicist Michael Boss positions a prototype NIST phantom in an ultralow-field magnetic resonance imaging scanner at the University of California at Berkeley. NIST phantoms are intended to help assess and validate this experimental imaging method, which offers advantages in diagnosing and monitoring of certain medical conditions (Photo courtesy of NIST).
Image: NIST physicist Michael Boss positions a prototype NIST phantom in an ultralow-field magnetic resonance imaging scanner at the University of California at Berkeley. NIST phantoms are intended to help assess and validate this experimental imaging method, which offers advantages in diagnosing and monitoring of certain medical conditions (Photo courtesy of NIST).
A US technology office has developed prototype calibration tools for an experimental medical imaging technique that offers new benefits in diagnosing and tracking of specific cancers and other medical disorders.

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD, USA) designed, built, and evaluated two prototype phantoms for calibrating ultralow-field (ULF) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems.

The NIST prototypes are the first standard calibration tools for ULF-MRI, offering a quantitative means to assess performance, validate the technique, and directly compare different experimental and clinical MRI scanners. “Tissues that may look the same in clinical MRI can look very different in ULF-MRI, which provides new contrast mechanisms,” NIST physicist Dr. Michael Boss stated. “Our hope is that we can move this technique along to attract more interest from [industry] vendors.”

MRI noninvasively images soft tissues based on measurements of how hydrogen nuclei respond to magnetic fields. ULF-MRI enhances tissue contrast in specific types of MRI scans. Prostate tumors, for example, can be difficult to see with conventional MRI but show up clearly under ULF-MRI. ULF-MRI has also been used in research approaches to image the brain, and assessed in at least one nonmedical application, inspection of liquids at airports.

ULF-MRI also offers practical advantages: the systems are more streamlined, lighter in weight, and less costly than conventional MRI scanners. That is because ULF-MRI operates at much lower magnetic field strengths, measured in micro-Teslas, thousands of times lower than conventional MRI, which operates at up to 3 Teslas and requires large magnets. The low magnetic field strength means ULF-MRI requires the most sensitive magnetometers available: superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs). This is convenient in that it makes ULF-MRI suitable for combining with other SQUID-based imaging techniques such as magnetoencephalography.

NIST scientists earlier designed phantoms for standard MRI systems and also have extensive experience both making and using SQUIDs. NIST’s new ULF-MRI phantoms are short plastic cylinders, shaped like hockey pucks but a bit smaller, containing six or 10 plastic jars filled with various salt solutions that become magnetized in a magnetic field. Each phantom measures a different aspect of scanner performance such as spatial resolution. NIST researchers tested the new phantoms on both a conventional MRI system at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (Denver, CO, USA) and a research ULF-MRI scanner at the University of California (UC) at Berkeley, where the technique was first demonstrated about than 10 years ago.

Tests findings revealed that the prototype phantoms are well matched to ULF-MRI applications and they allow direct comparison of ULF and clinical MRI system performance. NIST researchers now plan to integrate design improvements based on lessons gleaned from the prototypes, with the aim of improving phantom stability and providing traceability to standard measurement units. NIST and the University of California (UC) Berkeley (USA) researchers also plan to work together to develop ULF-MRI technology for the detection of prostate and breast cancers.

NIST’s phantoms for conventional MRI systems are currently being tested by hospitals and MRI manufacturers, and Sigma-K Corp. (Durham, NC, USA) is devising ways for making copies for more widespread distribution under a NIST Small Business Innovation Research Award (SBIR).

The study’s findings were published online November 26, 2013, in the journal Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Related Links:

National Institute of Standards and Technology
University of California, Berkeley
Sigma-K



Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel
Image: Biopsy of small bowel showing celiac disease manifested by blunting of villi, crypt hyperplasia, and lymphocyte infiltration of crypts (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Reduced Elafin Levels Associated with Celiac Disease Bowel Inflammation

Levels of the enzyme elafin, an endogenous serine protease inhibitor, were lower in the small intestinal epithelium of patients with active celiac disease (CD) as compared to similar tissue from control patients.... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel

Retinoic Acid Prevents Precancerous Breast Cells from Progressing to Full-Blown Cancer

Retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, was found to prevent pre-cancerous breast cells from progressing to full-blown cancer but did not have any effect on breast tumor cells. Investigators at Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, PA, USA) worked with a novel breast cancer model that had been developed by treating... Read more

Biochemistry

view channel

Mitochondrial Cause of Aging Can Be Reversed

Researchers have found a cause of aging in lab animals that can be reversed, possibly providing an avenue for new treatments for age-related diseases including type 2 diabetes, cancer, muscle wasting, and inflammatory diseases. The researchers plan to begin human trials late 2014. The study, which was published December... Read more

Therapeutics

view channel

Cytokine Identified That Causes Mucositis in Cancer Therapy Patients

The action of the cytokine interleukin 1-beta (IL-1beta) has been found to underlie the onset of mucositis, a common, severe side effect of chemotherapy and irradiation of cancer patients. Mucositis occurs as a result of cell death in reaction to chemo- or radiotherapy. The mucosal lining of the mouth becomes thin, may... Read more

Business

view channel

Analytical Sciences Trade Fair Declared a Rousing Success

Organizers of this year's 24th "analytica" biosciences trade fair have reported significant increases in both the number of visitors and exhibitors compared to the 2012 event. The analytica trade fair for laboratory technology, analysis, and biotechnology has been held at the Munich (Germany) Trade Fair Center every... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.