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EPSRC Reference: GR/T20434/01
Title: Evaluating Vascular Properties of Tumours in the Presence of Tissue Motion: Application to Functional Studies of Liver Tumours
Principal Investigator: Hawkes, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Atkinson, Dr D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Medical Physics and Biomedical Eng
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 09 May 2005 Ends: 08 October 2008 Value (£): 279,218
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Medical Imaging
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare Information Technologies
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Summary on Grant Application Form
Over the last few years there have been significant advances in developing and applying methods of assessing the vascular properties of tumours. These approaches are aiding diagnosis, for example in breast cancer, and playing an increasingly important role in evaluating tumour response to treatment, with a particularly important role in assessing new classes of anti cancer therapeutics - antivascular and antiangiogenic therapeutics. Vascular properties of tumours also define the delivery and effectiveness of a range of therapies. While these techniques for mapping function are now effective in tumours in many regions of the body, they suffer from considerable limitations in regions with substantial movement, such as the liver. However the liver is a major site of metastasis, which need to be identified for management, and which are an important focus for systemic therapies.Advances in MR imaging techniques are leading to improved spatial and temporal resolution images of changes seen after the introduction of contrast agents. New generations of specific contrast agents show promise in providing characterization of tissue type, physiological function and molecular processes in tumours. Imaging is also being developed to exploit endogenous contrast such as diffusion and relaxation time measurements. Acquisition of MR images of dynamic processes is currently limited to tissues that remain rigid and stationary over the time-course of the image acquisition. This limits application of these exciting new techniques when involuntary motion occurs. Specifically, in the liver, we need to study vascular input from both arterial and portal venous supplies as well as washout and this necessitates image acquisition over a time much longer than a breath-hold with atemporal resolution of at least 1 or 2 seconds.In this project we will bring together recent advances in non-rigid registration and image autofocusing methods to reduce motion artefact, and combine these with models of tissue motion over the breathing and cardiac cycles and models of the pharmacokinetics of contrast enhancement in tumours. We will use this technology to construct maps of tumour metabolism, blood flow, diffusion and tissue type, free from motion artefact, in moving anddeforming tissue.These methods will be tested on phantoms, volunteers (without contrast injection) and a group of patients with metastatic disease of the liver. Their potential for use in planning surgical, planning and assessing minimally invasive therapies and assessing novel systemic therapies will be explored.
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