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Technology Development

Technical developments in the lab include testing of new methods using 129Xe, a trace gas in the atmosphere, and medical oxygen-enhanced as alternative methods for MRI of lung function; both are methods that promise to be a more widely available alternatives to 3He in the clinic.

Oxygen-Enhanced MRI

Oxygen-enhanced MRI using 3D radial ultrashort echo time sequence (OE-MRI) is a promising approach to evaluate ventilation and defects with potential for high accessibility and affordability. The change in signal intensity between the air- and 100% oxygen-breathing images is widely considered to be predominately ventilation weighted. This signal intensity change is reported as percent signal enhancement (PSE). Our preliminary results based on 11 cystic fibrosis (CF) subjects showed that referring to the severity rankings based on whole lung VDP from HP-MRI, PSE map may be a viable alternative for evaluation of CF severity. However, the spatial agreement between focal defects and low PSE regions is moderate.

Figure: Examples of ventilation defects (contoured in green) segmented from HP helium-3 images (HP-MRI) and the corresponding percent signal enhancement (PSE) maps from OE-MRI: focal defects and low PSE regions (orange arrows) were not well-matched in subject #1 (a vs. b) but aligned well in subject #2 (c vs. d).

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