- Neurodegenerative diseases and brain tumors pose significant challenges to patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers. Early detection and effective monitoring of these conditions are critical for timely interventions and improved patient outcomes.
- Quantitative MRI (qMRI) is an advanced imaging technique that goes beyond traditional anatomical imaging by providing quantitative measurements of specific tissue properties. It aims to quantify various physical parameters, such as relaxation times, diffusion coefficients, and magnetization transfer, which can reflect important tissue characteristics and pathophysiological changes.
- Iron is the most abundant trace element in the human body. It enters the brain across the blood-brain barrier and participates in many biological processes. Therefore, strict iron regulation is essential for maintaining normal physiological brain function. The two iron-binding proteins most involved in iron regulation are ferritin and transferrin. When iron concentrations exceed the capacity of these iron-binding proteins this can lead to oxidative stress and cellular damage. Accumulation of iron and disturbances in the regional distribution of iron proteins were identified in aging, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Assessment of different iron compounds in the living brain would be highly valuable for diagnosis, therapeutic monitoring, and understanding the pathogenesis of diseases. Iron’s paramagnetic properties make magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) a perfect candidate for non-invasive estimation of iron content.
We propose to develop an innovative non-invasive MRI approach for assessing brain iron forms, based on the interdependency of the MR relaxation rates R1 and R2*.
Our approach consists of:
1. Identifying physiologically relevant levels of iron in the tissue (transferrin-bound/ferritin-bound/free) to diagnose/predict/monitor neurodegenerative diseases and brain tumors.
2. Diagnosing brain tumors and delineating tumor tissue from the surrounding non-pathological tissue, without the use of imaging agents (without toxicity) by identifying iron in the tumor.
Our approach is unique and has significant advantages:
- based on a standard imaging protocol.
- provides whole brain coverage.
- no need for gadolinium injection to the brain, generally necessary prior to MRI and leading to adverse side effects.
- its specificity to iron compounds allows better biological interpretation of the pathological findings.
Our product will pave the way for patient stratification-based medication for the first time.
We are seeking collaboration with medical imaging and computer-based surgery planning companies.