The Magnetic Resonance Laboratory is currently engaged in multiple projects that involve increasing image acquisition speed, advancing the means for image reconstruction, reducing artifacts in MR images, improving spatiotemporal resolution and increasing the value of MRI.
In the U.S., prostate cancer is the most common and second-most deadly noncutaneous cancer in men. But five-year survival rates approaching 100% are possible if the cancer is detected early. Prostate MRI has become increasingly important in cancer detection and localization It is generally performed using a multiparametric approach composed of T2-weighted spin-echo (T2SE), diffusion-weighted (DWI) and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) imaging.
The overall goal of this project is to improve the overall efficacy of prostate MRI, ultimately leading to a short, 15-minute exam that can be used for accurate cancer detection and assessment of progression. This would markedly increase the value of prostate MRI for routine use.
A specific area of study related to this goal is the generation of images with improved spatial resolution, particularly in the slice select direction of 2D acquisition. With modest oversampling of acquired slices, correction for the thick slice profile can be made, allowing the imaging of slices with thicknesses of 1 mm or less. This work is ongoing. Multiple current aspects under study include increased speed in the acquisition of multiple (100 or more) acquired slices, improved fidelity in the resolution along the slice direction, improved receiver coils better matched to the anatomical region, improved image reconstruction to provide higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and modified acquisition for reduction of motion artifact.
These methods are expected to be applicable beyond prostate imaging to many other anatomic regions.
For over three decades, the Magnetic Resonance Laboratory has been developing methods applicable to imaging of the cardiovascular system. These include:
- Initial development of the technique of view sharing
- Segmented k-space sampling
- Use of real-time navigator echoes
- Centric and elliptical centric view orders
- Fluoroscopic triggering
- Continuous table motion magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
- High spatial-temporal resolution contrast-enhanced (CE) MRA
Current research projects are directed toward improved speed, reduced contrast dose and extension of the CE-MRA acquisitions to dynamic contrast-enhanced perfusion imaging.
- Synthetic MRI
- View sharing and MR fluoroscopy
- Development of fast fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) imaging
- Real-time single-shot fast spin-echo (SSFSE) imaging of the pelvis and fetus
- Real-time triggering of contrast-enhanced MRA scans