Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American women after lung cancer according to the Center for Disease Control. Currently the most common breast cancer screening method is X-ray mammography; however, several studies have shown that MRI has much higher sensitivity for detecting cancer, especially in high-risk women. Our breast MRI research includes imaging at higher spatial resolution to better depict tumor features as well as enabling different image contrast mechanisms to help to classify malignancy and tumor sub-types.
Most commonly, breast cancers are shown in MRI by injecting a contrast agent. Because of the increased and "leaky" blood supply to the tumor, the tumor becomes brighter than the other tissue soon after injection. Advanced methods are necessary to image quickly enough to resolve the brightness changes with high image resolution.
Other MRI methods to assess breast cancer include T2-weighted imaging and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). We are exploring faster and sharper techniques to acquire these images. While T2 and DWI are currently not as accurate for cancer detection, they do not require injection of a contrast agent, so may offer cheaper and wider access to MRI for many patients.
Our research was featured in NIBIB's Health and Education: A Sharper View for Breast MRI: June 29, 2011
Multiband Diffusion-Weighted Breast MRI
This novel technique reduces distortion in high-resolution diffusion MRI.
Custom-Fitted 16-Channel Bilateral Breast Coil
MR receive coils with a higher number of channels generate images with higher signal-to-noise ratio and allow for accelerated imaging.
MRI with Compressed Sensing and Variable View Sharing
A new sampling pattern enables retrospective selection of frame rates in MRI to allow for different spatiotemporal resoluiton tradeoffs and protocol optimization for different imaging applications.
High-Resolution, 3D Diffusion-Weighted Breast MRI with DESS
High-resolution diffusion-weighted breast MRI allows for detection of small lesions and can distinguish between benign and malignant lesions.
Rapid 3D MRI of Breast Perfusion
Breast cancer is most often detected on MRI using contrast-enhanced imaging.
Fat-Based Registration of Breast Dynamic Contrast Enhanced Water Images
Dynamic contrast-enhanced breast MRI scans take 5-10 minutes to acquire, so motion between the temporal phases is a common problem that must be corrected before post-processing.