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Novel biomarkers for liver imaging in the monitoring of cancer therapy

Project Description

The aim of this project is to develop novel imaging biomarkers to characterise precancerous liver disease (cirrhosis) for patients under surveillance, using a range of novel quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques alongside routine imaging, such as conventional ultrasound, and contrast-enhanced MRI or computed tomography. MR elastography (MRE) and recently quantitative MR imaging with T1-mapping have shown great promises in predicting fibrosis stages in patients. This project will utilise their complementarity in characterising cirrhosis by developing dedicated computational medical image analysis technology that allows clinicians to spatially correlate and follow-up patient- and disease-specific tissue characteristics. This project will generate clinically relevant imaging biomarkers for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The ultimate goal of this research is to detect changes in tissue characteristics from precancerous to cancerous states, which could impact on a range of other primary and secondary cancers. As part of this project, a range of novel quantitative MRI techniques alongside clinical routine imaging will be conducted in the Department of Radiology, as part of their standard of care, with clinical support from the Gastroeneterology and Hepatology teams. The project will require the development of dedicated computational tools that can compensate for tissue motion/deformation between different types of scans, and scans that are acquired longitudinally, by taking into account imaging-derived patient- and disease-specific tissue or tissue perfusion parameters, in order to detect (and ultimately predict) changes in tissue characteristics from precancerous to cancerous states. This project contains a very strong translational component, by embedding the developed techniques into a commercial software product for rapid deployment into clinical practice. This is an MRC funded Industrial CASE project with Perspectum Diagnostics at Oxford (perspectum-diagnostics.com), which will be aligned with the EPSRC CDT for Medical Imaging (imagingcdt.com) at King’s College London & Imperial College London, offering an integrated 4-year MRes Medical Imaging Sciences and PhD training programme.
For more info and full details, please visit http://www.kcl.ac.uk/health/study/studentships/div-studentships/imaging/schnabel.aspx

Funding Notes

iCASE: Medical Research Council (MRC) and Perspectum Diagnostics

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