Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant
Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant

Greg Freiherr has reported on developments in radiology since 1983. He runs the consulting service, The Freiherr Group.

Blog | Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant | March 22, 2013

MR “Fingerprinting” Promises Quick Screen for Disease

Only one radiological modality – mammography – is used today for screening. Yet, as America hurdles toward preventive medicine, screening is where it will be at. Now researchers in Cleveland are floating the idea of using MRI as a standard procedure in annual checkups. 

This is not the MRI of the present, which sequesters patients inside a superconducting magnet for a half hour or more. This is a quick, radically new kind of MR – the MR equivalent of fingerprinting – that might one day scan whole patients for early signs of cancer, multiple sclerosis and heart disease in just a few minutes. And it can be done on a standard high-field scanner.

One of the investigators, Mark Griswold, Ph.D., a radiology professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, says he and his colleagues “had to give up everything we knew about MRI and start over.”

Their work appeared March 13 in the online edition of the UK journal Nature, itself a nontraditional way of getting the word out on a radiological development. The president and CEO of Siemens Healthcare North America, which has been underwriting the research, believes this new technique could have broad ramifications for patients in five or ten years.

It’s taken a decade for the Cleveland team to get where they are now, doing much of the developmental work on a Siemens Espree 1.5T scanner. Scans done with the new technique reveal a fingerprint of tissue health, Griswold says, comprised of what might appear to be a cacophony of MR signals. These are produced by varying different parts of the electromagnetic fields that the Cleveland researchers use to probe the tissue. The signals carry information about key physical properties of the tissues. The signals are analyzed, quantified and charted to reveal patterns associated with health or specific diseases and their degree of progression.

In their Nature paper, the researchers report that MR fingerprinting “provides an alternative way to quantitatively detect and analyze complex changes that can represent physical alterations of a substance or early indicators of disease.”

If their preliminary results hold up, MR fingerprinting would be the first truly novel development coming out of MR in decades. And the timing couldn’t be better, given the push for healthcare reform and its emphasis on cost reduction, disease prevention and early treatment. 

Related Content

Lunit Unveiling AI-Based Mammography Solution at RSNA 2018
News | Mammography | November 15, 2018
Medical artificial intelligence (AI) software company Lunit will be returning to the 104th Radiological Society of...
Breast Density Advocate Nancy M. Cappello Passes Away

Nancy Cappello. Image courtesy of AreYouDense.org.

News | Breast Density | November 15, 2018 | Jeff Zagoudis, Associate Editor
Imaging Technology News extends its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Nancy M. Cappello, Ph.D., who...
The MOZART Supra Specimen Tomosynthesis System is the latest generation of 3-D imaging for breast cancer surgery.
News | Breast Imaging | November 08, 2018
KUBTEC announced the launch of a new innovation in the treatment of breast cancer. The Mozart Supra Specimen...
Deaconess Health System Chooses Sectra as Enterprise Imaging Vendor
News | Enterprise Imaging | November 02, 2018
International medical imaging information technology (IT) and cybersecurity company Sectra will install its enterprise...
Volpara Enterprise Cloud Reaches 1 Million Mammograms Stored
News | Mammography | October 31, 2018
Volpara Solutions announced that the data stored in the Volpara Enterprise cloud now exceeds 1 million mammographic...
Etta Pisano Named American College of Radiology Chief Research Officer
News | Radiology Business | October 25, 2018
October 25, 2018 — Breast imaging research pioneer Etta Pisano, M.D., FACR, has been named...
DenseBreast-info.org Launches Patient Education Video Series
News | Breast Density | October 24, 2018
DenseBreast-info.org (DB-I) announced the release of "Let's Talk About Dense Breasts," a series of three informational...
Explaining the Mammography Quality Standards Act
Feature | Mammography | October 16, 2018
The Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) was enacted to improve the quality of mammography and ensure that all...
iCAD Announces Positive Clinical Results for Artificial Intelligence Tomosynthesis Technology
News | Mammography | October 11, 2018
iCAD Inc. announced positive clinical results of its new digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) cancer detection software,...
"Where's My Mammogram?" Campaign Helps Women Own Breast Health Records
News | Breast Imaging | October 10, 2018
October 10, 2018 — Mammosphere launched “Where’s My Mammogram?,” a public service campaign to help women obtain copie