Novel imaging biomarkers for inflammation, fibrosis and cancer
The main focus of our team is translational research in medical imaging for the development and validation of novel imaging biomarkers in inflammation fibrosis and cancer. Our efforts range from fundamental research in imaging methodologies to applied research in hepatic and abdominal diseases.
Our methodological developments bring improvements in terms of imaging speed, and have applications in the quantitative imaging of organ function by MRI (diffusion, perfusion, elastography, suceptibility) as well as in novel tracers for cellular imaging. These developments are first validated by an experimental stage on thin tissue sections and by small animal research. Once the proofs of concepts are obtained, the novel technologies are transferred to the field of clinical imaging for increasing the understanding and improving the detection, characterization and treatment response monitoring of inflammation, fibrosis and cancer.
WP1: To validate the perfusion and hepatocytic transport parameters through the OATP/MRP organic anion transporter system at dynamic gadoxetate-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as biomarkers of liver function.
WP2: To develop and validate multifrequency MR elastography to quantify inflammation and fibrogenesis in the liver and the kidney and to study the tumor cell fate according to the visco-elastic properties of the microenvironment.
WP3: To assess the role of advanced methods in diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI), including oscillating gradient DWI, for the early quantification of tumor response to treatment (Fig. 2).
WP4: To assess the role of fatty acid composition at multi-echo gradient-echo MR imaging in the diagnosis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.
WP5: To assess inflammation with susceptibility imaging enhanced with gadolinium or iron-loaded particles and liposomes.
Fig. 1: Parametric maps of perfusion and liver function obtained with gadoxetate-enhanced MR imaging. Local figures of hepatic perfusion (Deb. total), arterial fraction (IPH), regional blood volume (VSR) , mean transit time (TTM), hepatocytic extraction fraction (Fract. extraction) and hepatocytic uptake rate (Deb. d’extraction).
Fig. 2: Changes of apparent diffusion coefficients (ADC) measured with MR imaging in nude mice xenografted with human colorectal cancer. Left image is performed before treatment and right image after 2 weeks of cetuximab treatment. Red voxels identify necrotic regions