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Gemma Middleton is currently living with MND and spoke to us about what her day-to-day life is like. We also spoke with Professor Christopher McDermott about how MRI-PET will help us in the fight to detect and treat this devastating disease.

 Take a look below to read about some of the research areas that will benefit from the MRI-PET scanner.

Changing the way we diagnose neurodegenerative diseases

Changing the way we diagnose neurodegenerative diseases

Current treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Motor Neurone Disease (also known as ALS in the United States), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease focus on alleviating symptoms and, at best, provide only modest benefit. There is an urgent need to develop new treatments that can slow or halt the progression of disease and diagnose conditions earlier so that treatments can be introduced before irreversible brain damage has occurred.

The ability to combine more detailed information about metabolic abnormalities with structural resolution will enable us to identify early risk factors and discover novel imaging biomarkers. This will overcome a major barrier to early diagnosis and provide a more accurate diagnosis, staging and prognosis of disease.

Transforming treatment for cancer patients

Transforming treatment for cancer patients

Approximately 50% of all cancer patients will receive radiotherapy to shrink tumours and kill cancer cells. Two of the major challenges in radiotherapy are to accurately define the tumour and deliver the highest dose of radiotherapy to the target whilst sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. The advanced sensitivity available through MRI-PET has the potential to improve treatment of a range of previously hard to reach cancers and will enable us to precisely target a tumour and adjust treatment, in-near real-time, according to how the cancer is responding in each individual patient.

Research has also demonstrated that MRI-PET is superior in the detection and diagnosis of different cancers, especially small tumours.

Reducing long-term disability in acute stroke patients

Reducing long-term disability in acute stroke patients

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and the biggest cause of adult disability. Most strokes are caused by a blockage of one or more blood vessels in the brain with a blood clot. Research shows that thrombectomy (removing the blood clot from the brain using specialised catheters) can dramatically reduce disability after a stroke if the treatment is started within 6 hours.

Unfortunately, most people arrive in hospital too late for such treatment as in many cases their brains are already too severely injured. MRI-PET could be used in acute stroke cases to locate areas of the brain that could still be saved, which current technology is not sensitive enough to identify. This could have an immense impact on treatment and in many more patients, long-term disability might be reduced.

Check back later to read stories about patients who could benefit from the Sheffield MRI-PET scanner, as well as groups and individuals that have got behind the cause.


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