Fain Awarded Hartwell Foundation Grant for Cystic Fibrosis Study

Associate Professor Sean Fain was awarded a grant by the Hartwell Foundation
for studying cystic fibrosis. This project will develop tools for imaging
lungs of babies in a clinical setting. The vision is to develop technology in
concert with a self-shielded low field MRI system that could be situated in
or adjacent to a neonatal intensive care unit and is readily accessible for
safe and rapid assessment of lung function in neonates and young children.

The work specifically addresses development of MRI-based tools for safe
assessment of lungs in babies without sedation. Dr. Fains group already has
developed rapidly imaging MRI sequences for imaging the lung and detecting
diseases in adults. The imaging sequences will be pushed to even faster
acquisition so that non-cooperative babies can be imaged. Entirely new
technologies for passive gas delivery and rf coils for obtaining good image
quality in babies will be developed. The sum of these parts will create a
new clinical platform for non-invasive imaging of lung function in infants
and babies that can potentially revolutionize CF treatment by providing: 1)
More effective intervention, 2) More complete understanding of early onset
and progression to irreversible disease, 3) Safe methods that can be used
longitudinally without cancer or other risks, 4) Lower costs and improved
accessibility for studies, and 5) Rapid progress in clinical use of pediatric
imaging by building an infrastructure at two major university medical centers
for dissemination of technology and clinical testing.