NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute is seeking a company to license and/or co-develop Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) software/system enhancement techniques that enable high resolution, non-contrast MRA. These techniques offer image quality competitive with contrast-enhanced MRA and far superior to standard non-contrast techniques. An estimated 1 in 3 adults have some form of vascular disease, which translated into hospital costs of approximately $114.8 billion in 2006. MR angiography is well-established as a valuable diagnostic tool for the evaluation of vascular disease, uniquely advantageous because of its lack of ionizing radiation and minimal contrast agent toxicity. Existing non-contrast MR angiography methods face challenges including the presence of flow artifacts and poor spatial resolution, which can lead to incorrect diagnosis. Meanwhile, contrast-enhanced techniques entail the additional cost of contrast agent and concerns about risk for nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. This series of inventions mitigates these potential challenges to more fully capitalize upon the exceptional diagnostic capability of MR as a vascular diagnostic tool.
Targeted Imaging with Non-Contrast MRA
STARFIRE MR Angiography This flow-independent technique creates high resolution images that allow selective imaging of arteries or veins. The method involves subtraction of data from two acquisitions. In one of the acquisitions, the longitudinal magnetization of spins within a selected imaging volume has been altered by the application of one or more radiofrequency (RF) pulses. The RF pulses are applied in a manner where subtraction eliminates signals from static background spins, such as fat and muscle, while maintaining the signal intensity of intravascular spins. Unlike other non-contrast MRA techniques, the method works equally well irrespective of whether the vessels are healthy or severely diseased. No cardiac gating is required.
Hybrid Time-of-Flight MR Angiography This technique involves MR angiography across vascular regions where the static magnetic field is heterogeneous. A spoiled gradient-echo (GRE) pulse sequence is applied for image acquisition across an inhomogeneous region, and a balanced steady-state free precession (SSFP) pulse sequence is applied for acquisition across a homogenous region. These 3D acquisition volumes are overlapped to produce an image that incorporates the relative strengths of both sequences. The method provides superior image quality for imaging of the intracranial circulation.
Time-of-Flight MR Cineangiography with Improved Background Suppression This technique combines hemodynamic and anatomic information that together, can serve to reliably distinguish between lesions that require intervention and those that are of no physiological consequence. The method provides for complete background signal suppression and high temporal resolution using a multi-phase, undersampled 3D radial acquisition.
- Captures comprehensive diagnostic information, including both structural and hemodynamic information
- Enables high resolution imaging of blood vessels, without the use of contrast agent
EasyStep - Efficient 3D MRA Image Acquisition
This process offers method for MR imaging at multiple stations, eliminating the need for the acquisition of multiple scout images and manual positioning of the multiple imaging volumes. This technique applies a plurality of spatially non-selective radio-frequency pulses, varies a magnitude of phase-encoded gradient, and then detects the resultant magnetic resonance imaging data. Employing a spatially non-selective RF pulse is typically substantially faster than a spatially-selective pulse, reducing the minimum repetition time, and accelerating image acquisition. Image acquisition time is further accelerated by eliminating the need for scout images and manual positioning, therefore increasing patient comfort and significantly reducing the risk of error.
- Reduces both image acquisition time and risk of image evaluation error
- Increases patient comfort through more efficient 3D image acquisition
ORCA - Selective Imaging of Contrast-Enhanced Tissue
This approach provides a technique for applying a paramagnetic contrast agent to shift the resonance frequency of contrast-enhanced tissue to a different value than the resonance frequency of background tissues. The resulting difference in resonance frequency is then coupled with a pulse sequence that renders the contrast-enhanced spins with much higher signal intensity than non-enhanced spins. This technique offers a less-invasive alternative for producing high resolution images for evaluation of vascular disease. This method reduces the risk of allergic reaction, reduction in renal function, and catheter manipulation complications commonly associated with catheter-based angiography, the current reference standard for evaluation of vascular legions.
- Lowers complication risk associated with catheter-based angiography methods
- Improves imaging of contrast-enhanced vessels and catheters by reducing the signal intensity of background tissues
US Patents 6,728,569 and 6,901,282; additional patents pending
About The Inventors
Dr. Robert R. Edelman is Chairman of Radiology at NorthShore University HealthSystem and Professor at Northwestern University’s Feinburg School of Medicine. Dr. Edelman earned his medical degree from Boston University. He completed his residency at Beth Israel Hospital, with a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Edelman is recognized for pioneering contributions in the field of magnetic resonance imaging and is the recipient of multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health. His current research focus is bringing into everyday clinical practice the use of advanced MR imaging techniques, high field MRI systems, and novel contrast agents for improved diagnosis of cardiovascular and other disorders.
Dr. Ioannis Koktzoglou is a Research Assistant Professor of Radiology for the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University and Research Associate with the Center for Advanced Imaging, NorthShore University HealthSystem. Dr. Koktzoglou earned his doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. His research is focused on the development and application of MRI to evaluate cardiovascular disease. Current research interests include the development of MR methods for evaluating atherosclerosis, performing angiography, and cardiovascular intervention.
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