Pulmonary functional imaging using hyperpolarized noble gas MRI: six years of start-up experience at a single site
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RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: In this review, we summarize our experience evaluating pulmonary function in 330 different subjects using hyperpolarized noble gas magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after enrollment and screening of >1100 subjects with and without respiratory disease during the period February 1, 2006, through November 1, 2012.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We discuss the feasibility of hyperpolarized gas MRI research in a small nonhospital research unit and provide an overview of our experience since we initiated patient-based studies. We also discuss the importance of infrastructure support, collaboration, research trainees, and a large and willing patient population that helped to advance the research and technological deliverables. A summary of patient safety and tolerability, key feasibility, and research milestones is provided, as well as a roadmap for future studies.
RESULTS: Hyperpolarized (3)He and (129)Xe gas MRI is feasible at smaller centers without significant human resources for large and small longitudinal studies by virtue of its excellent patient safety and tolerability, the speed with which images can be acquired and quantitatively analyzed and the high spatial-temporal dynamics of the method that allows for acute and chronic therapy studies.
CONCLUSIONS: The hyperpolarized noble gas MRI community's highly collaborative efforts and motivation to further the development and application of this tool has resulted in a moment-of-opportunity to translate the method clinically to provide an improved understanding of pulmonary disease. There are, as well, new and unprecedented opportunities for the evaluation of disease progression and to help develop the new treatments and interventions critically required for chronic pulmonary disease.
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