News | Lung Cancer | March 11, 2016

Researchers Make Major Breakthrough in New Lung MRI Scan Technology

Clean energy combustion technology has been used to successfully hyperpolarize krypton gas for MRI scanning of the lungs

lung disease, MRI scans, contrast agent, hyperpolarized krypton

March 11, 2016 — New scanning technology which will give a much clearer picture of lung disease has taken a major step forward thanks to scientists at The University of Nottingham.

The experts at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre have developed a process using specially treated krypton gas as an inhalable contrast agent to make the spaces inside the lungs show up on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. It is hoped the new process will eventually allow doctors to virtually see inside the lungs of patients.

Traditional MRI uses hydrogen protons in the body as molecular targets to give a picture of tissue, but this does not give a detailed picture of the lungs because they are full of air. Recent technological developments have led to a novel imaging methodology called inhaled hyperpolarized gas MRI that uses lasers to 'hyperpolarize' a noble (inert) gas which aligns (polarizes) the nuclei of the gas so it shows up on an MRI scan.

The work will make 3-D imaging using 'atomic spies' like helium, xenon or krypton possible in a single breath hold by the patient. Nottingham has pioneered hyperpolarized krypton MRI and is currently advancing this technology towards the clinical approval processes.

Hyperpolarized MRI research has been trying to overcome a problem with these noble gases retaining their hyperpolarized state for long enough for the gas to be inhaled, held in the lungs and scanned. Now in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Nottingham team has developed a new technique to generate hyperpolarized krypton gas at high purity, a step that will significantly facilitate the use of this new contrast agent for pulmonary MRI.

Chair in Translational Imaging at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, Prof. Thomas Meersmann, said: "It is particularly demanding to retain the hyperpolarized state of krypton during preparation of this contrast agent. We have solved a problem by using a process that is usually associated with clean energy-related sciences. It's called catalytic hydrogen combustion. To hyperpolarize the krypton-83 gas we diluted it in molecular hydrogen gas for the laser pumping process. After successful laser treatment the hydrogen gas is mixed with molecular oxygen and literally exploded it away in a safe and controlled fashion through a catalyzed combustion reaction.

"Remarkably, the hyperpolarized state of krypton-83 survives the combustion event. Water vapor, the sole product of the 'clean' hydrogen reaction, is easily removed through condensation, leaving behind the purified laser-polarized krypton-83 gas diluted only by small remaining quantities of harmless water vapor. This development significantly improves the potential usefulness of laser-pumped krypton-83 as MRI contrast agent for clinical applications."

This new technique can also be used to hyperpolarize another useful noble gas, xenon-129, and may lead to a cheaper and easier production of this contrast agent.

As part of a recent Medical Research Council funding award, hyperpolarized krypton-83 is currently being developed for whole body MRI at high magnetic field strength in the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre's large 7 Tesla scanner. Studies will be carried out first on healthy volunteers before progressing to patient trials at a later phase.

For more information: www.pnas.org

Related Content

Two brain metastases from primary lung cancer are contrast enhanced in the brain of a 61-year-old male. Speakers at AHRA 2019 will state that ProHance and other macrocyclic MR agents present a very low risk to patients. Images courtesy of Bracco

Two brain metastases from primary lung cancer are contrast enhanced in the brain of a 61-year-old male. Speakers at AHRA 2019 will state that ProHance and other macrocyclic MR agents present a very low risk to patients. Images courtesy of Bracco

Feature | Contrast Media | July 18, 2019 | By Greg Freiherr
Macrocyclic contrast agents have the best safety profile of all the magnetic resonance (MR) contrast media that are n
New Lung Ambition Alliance Aims to Double Five-year Lung Cancer Survival by 2025
News | Lung Cancer | July 17, 2019
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), Guardant Health, the Global Lung Cancer Coalition (...
AAPM 2019 Features More Than 40 Presentations on ViewRay's MRIdian MRI-guided Radiotherapy
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | July 16, 2019
ViewRay Inc. announced that the company's MRIdian System is the focus of more than 40 abstracts selected by the...
FDA Approves Bayer's Gadavist Contrast for Cardiac MRI in Adult Coronary Artery Disease Patients
Technology | Contrast Media | July 15, 2019
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Gadavist injection for use in cardiac magnetic resonance...
Insightec's Exablate Neuro Approved With GE Signa Premier MRI in U.S. and Europe
News | Focused Ultrasound Therapy | July 10, 2019
GE Healthcare and Insightec announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and CE mark for Insightec’s...
Researchers Use Artificial Intelligence to Deliver Personalized Radiation Therapy
News | Radiation Therapy | July 09, 2019
New Cleveland Clinic-led research shows that artificial intelligence (AI) can use medical scans and health records to...
Delta T1 Maps Provide Quantitative, Automated Solution to Assess Brain Tumor Burden
News | Neuro Imaging | July 05, 2019
Imaging Biometrics LLC (IB) a subsidiary of IQ-AI Ltd., is highlighting a recently published study in the American...
Medic Vision Wins Japanese PMDA Clearance for iQMR Image Reconstruction Solution
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | July 05, 2019
Medic Vision Imaging Solutions announced that its 3-D iterative image reconstruction technology for shortening magnetic...
LVivo EF Comparable to MRI, Contrast Echo in Assessing Ejection Fraction
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound | June 19, 2019
DiA Imaging Analysis announced the presentation of two studies assessing the performance and accuracy of the company's...
International Working Group Releases New Multiple Myeloma Imaging Guidelines

X-ray images such as the one on the left fail to indicate many cases of advanced bone destruction caused by multiple myeloma, says the author of new guidelines on imaging for patients with myeloma and related disorders. Image courtesy of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | June 17, 2019
An International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) has developed the first set of new recommendations in 10 years for...