Research in the laboratory of Kiaran P. McGee, Ph.D., focuses on the application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to improve disease diagnosis, prognosis and response to therapies.
Current research involves the development of a noninvasive magnetic resonance-based method of quantifying the topographical distribution of tissue mechanical properties, known as magnetic resonance elastography (MRE). MRE, a Mayo Clinic invention, is extremely well-suited to discern a variety of both benign and malignant diseases that affect the intrinsic mechanical properties of tissues and organs.
Dr. McGee is also involved in the development of MRI techniques for improved delineation of malignancies treatable with ionizing radiation. The goal of this work is to more clearly identify the size, shape and location of malignancies that are known to respond to radiation therapy treatments while simultaneously identifying surrounding normal tissues and structures.
- Development and application of advanced MRI and MRE techniques for parenchymal lung diseases
- Development of advanced mathematical models and MRE techniques for improved diagnosis of heart disease
- Development of MRI and MRE early biomarkers of response to therapy in cancer
Significance to patient care
Many disease processes undergo a series of events that are described by an initial insult, an inflammatory response, and either a return to normal function or tissue remodeling characterized by reorganization of the extracellular matrix, fibroblastic proliferation, scarring and in certain circumstances end-stage fibrosis. While these events are well-understood, existing diagnostic imaging techniques are unable to quantify or spatially resolve these changes.
The goal of Dr. McGee's research is to develop magnetic resonance-based imaging techniques that address this unmet clinical need with particular focus on those organ systems and diseases — heart, lung and cancer — for which MRE techniques have yet to be developed. MRE-based noninvasive imaging of tissue mechanical properties has the potential to provide improved and earlier detection of a variety of diseases, as well as the ability to monitor response to a variety of therapies.