Vanderbilt researchers have developed a new method for using contrast enhanced MRI to non-invasively map and quantify cell size on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Using this approach, it is possible to monitor and detect diseases or treatments that alter the distribution of cell sizes such as cancer, muscular dystrophy, hepatocellular hypertrophy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
It is not possible with current imaging techniques to detect cell size on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Current technologies rely on ex vivo microscopic analysis or perfused organs or tissue sections and are limited by sampling volumes, as in the case of biopsies. The technology developed here at Vanderbilt is a non-invasive imaging method to assess whole organ cell size heterogeneity. This exciting new approach opens up the door for a number of potential applications. In fact, any disease or treatment that alters the distribution of cell size within tissue is a potential target application.
- Ability to image whole organ cell size in a non-invasive fashion
- Detect tumor cellular microstructure and investigate the tumor’s response to therapy
Technology Development Status
Animal studies and simulations have been performed and initial results show the validity of the approach. Further development and refinement of the technology is ongoing.
Intellectual Property Status
Figure 1. Example of a cell size imaging map in a rat brain tumor model. The cell size imaging values have been shown to be comparable to those found via histology.