News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | April 14, 2017

New MRI Technique Shows Effectiveness of Cystic Fibrosis Drug

Hyperpolarized helium MRI could aid in development of improved therapies for lung diseases

New MRI Technique Shows Effectiveness of Cystic Fibrosis Drug

Image courtesy of Toshiba Medical.

April 14, 2017 ― Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine have developed an imaging technique using a specific form of helium to measure the effectiveness of a new drug for cystic fibrosis. They hope the finding could lead to improved therapies for cystic fibrosis and other lung conditions.

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, more than 30,000 Americans are living with the disorder. It currently has no cure, though the new drug, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), treats the underlying cause of the disease. However, the drug’s effectiveness for each individual is unknown.

“People with cystic fibrosis have an imbalance of salt in their bodies caused by the defective CFTR protein,” said Talissa Altes, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiology at the MU School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “The drug ivacaftor targets this defective protein, but to what extent it is successful is not well understood. Our study sought to use a new way of imaging the lung to understand how well the drug is working in patients with a specific gene mutation known as G551D-CFTR.”

Cystic fibrosis causes the buildup of thick mucus that can clog airways and lead to dangerous infections. Although advances in the understanding and treatment of cystic fibrosis have allowed many people with the condition to live into their early 40s, many patients with cystic fibrosis die of respiratory failure.

Currently, lung function is measured using a test known as spirometry, in which patients blow through a tube; their progress is tracked over time. However, this method is not well suited for pediatric patients because it requires concentration, controlled breathing and cooperation with the spirometry technician. Computed tomography (CT) scans can be used, but they provide structural images of the lungs and do not show gas or airflow.

Altes and her team decided to use a specific form of helium, helium-3, as a harmless contrast agent in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualize lung function. The study was conducted in two parts. In part one, eight patients were given either ivacaftor or a placebo for four weeks to measure short-term effectiveness. In part two, nine patients received ivacaftor for 48 weeks to determine long-term effectiveness. After each phase, patients performed a spirometry test and underwent MRI imaging using hyperpolarized helium.

“We found that after using ivacaftor, patients experienced a dramatic increase in lung improvement in both the short and long term,” Altes said. “On an MRI, a healthy lung should look completely white when helium-3 is used as a contrast agent. Conversely, areas that are not white indicate poor ventilation. That’s the beauty of this technique — it’s very obvious if the drug is working or not.”

With more study, Altes hopes to apply helium-3 MRI to younger children or babies with impaired lung function or other respiratory diseases.

“More drugs are under development to treat cystic fibrosis and other lung conditions, and improved imaging techniques are needed to test their effectiveness,” Altes said. “The importance of this technique is that it may well be a cost-effective tool to aid in the development of these drugs. However, it also can help patients know which medications may work best for their unique conditions.”

The study, “Use of Hyperpolarized Helium-3 MRI to Assess Response to Ivacaftor Treatment in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis,” recently was published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. Research reported in this publication was supported by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., the manufacturer of ivacaftor, the Hartwell Foundation and Siemens Healthcare.

For more information: www.cysticfibrosisjournal.com

Related Content

MRI Plus Mammography Improves Detection of New Breast Cancer After Surgery
News | Breast Imaging | June 22, 2017
A new article published by JAMA Oncology compares outcomes for combined mammography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI...
Dual-Agent PET/MR With Time of Flight Detects More Cancer

Tc-99m MDP bone scan (left) is negative for osseous lesions. NaF/FDG PET/MRI (right and second slide) confirms absence of bone metastases, but shows liver metastases. Image courtesy of Stanford University.

News | PET-MRI | June 20, 2017
Simultaneous injections of the radiopharmaceuticals fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) and 18F-sodium fluoride (...
Combined Optical and Molecular Imaging Could Guide Breast-Conserving Surgery

WLE specimen from a patient with a grade 3, ER-/HER2-, no special type (NST) carcinoma. (A) Cerenkov image; (B) Grey-scale photographic image overlaid with Cerenkov signal. An increased signal from the tumor is visible (white arrows); mean radiance is 871 ± 131 photons/s/cm2/sr, mean TBR is 3.22. Both surgeons measured the posterior margin (outlined in blue) as 2 mm (small arrow); a cavity shaving would have been performed if the image had been available intraoperatively. The medial margin (outlined in green) measured >5 mm by both surgeons. Pathology ink prevented assessing the lateral margin; a phosphorescent signal is visible (open arrows). (C) Specimen radiography image. The absence of one surgical clip to mark the anterior margin, and the odd position of the superior margin clip (white arrow) prevented reliable margin assessment. (D) Combined histopathology image from two adjacent pathology slides on which the posterior margin (bottom of image) and part of the primary tumor are visible (open arrows). The distance from the posterior margin measured 3 mm microscopically (double arrow). The medial margin is > 5 mm (not present in image). Credit: A. D. Purushotham, M.D., King’s College London, UK

News | Nuclear Imaging | June 20, 2017
June 20, 2017 — Breast-conserving surgery (BCS) is the primary treatment for early-stage...
Henry Ford Cancer Institute First in World to Install Viewray MRIdian Linac
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | June 19, 2017
The Henry Ford Cancer Institute is the first in Michigan – and first in the world – to offer patients advanced...
The Magnetom Vida with BioMatrix technology
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | June 16, 2017
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the Magnetom Vida 3 Tesla (3T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI...
Stéphane Bordas, Professor in Computational Mechanics at the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication of the University of Luxembourg, and his team have developed methods to train surgeons, help them rehearse for such complex operations and guide them during surgery

Stéphane Bordas, Professor in Computational Mechanics at the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication of the University of Luxembourg, and his team have developed methods to train surgeons, help them rehearse for such complex operations and guide them during surgery. Image © Legato Team / University of Luxembourg.

News | Information Technology | June 16, 2017
Researchers from the University of Luxembourg, in cooperation with the University of Strasbourg, have developed a...
pediatric imaging
News | Pediatric Imaging | June 14, 2017
Despite evidence showing that the routine use of sonography in hospital emergency departments can safely improve care...
News | Clinical Study | June 09, 2017
The milestone Imaging Dementia — Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS) Study is working with government and academic...
OCM images

These are sample OCM images (first row) and corresponding histology images (second row) of human breast tissue. The ground truth labels for the tissue type of these images are: (a) carcinoma, (b) lobule, (c) stroma, (d) adipose. Image courtesy of Sunhua Wan, Hsiang-Chieh Lee, Xiaolei Huang, Ting Xu, Tao Xu, Xianxu Zeng, Zhan Zhang, Yuri Sheikine, James L. Connolly, James G. Fujimoto, Chao Zhou

News | Clinical Study | June 07, 2017
According to a recent study, one in four women with breast cancer who opt for a breast-saving lumpectomy will need a...
New Metamaterial-Enhanced MRI Technique Tested on Humans
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 31, 2017
Scientists from the Netherlands and Russia designed and tested a new metasurface-based technology for enhancing the...
Overlay Init