The future of imaging: Multicolor MRIs?

By Liz Meszaros, MDLinx
Published August 17, 2017

Key Takeaways

Multicolor magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a new technology that researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, are currently working to develop , which could—one day—enable clinicians to better image metabolic diseases like diabetes, genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, and even cancer. Their results are published in Nature Scientific Reports.

Instead of a single injectable contrast agent, this method would allow for the use of two agents—gadolinium and manganese—and enable clinicians to map multiple characteristics of a patient’s internal organs in a single MRI. The two contrast agents could include one specifically targeting diseased tissue, and the other designed to show healthy tissue, for example. Thus, immediate comparisons of how each agent distributes in the same patient will be possible. They hope that this strategy can be both a research tool as well as aid in diagnosis of disease.

“The method we developed enables, for the first time, the simultaneous detection of two different MRI contrast agents,” said Chris Flask, PhD, associate professor of radiology, biomedical engineering, and pediatrics, and director, Imaging Resource Core, Case Western Reserve.

Dr. Flask and colleagues are further assessing the possible widespread applications of this new approach to MRI.

“In this initial paper, we validated our new methodology, opening the possibility for numerous follow-on application studies in cancer, genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes,” he concluded.

This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and a grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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