ISMRM Conference Success – May 2016

Dr Madhwesha Rao from the Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease presented a poster at the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) conference in Singapore. The poster entitled ‘MR of hyperpolarized xenon-129 dissolved in the human brain at 1.5 T and 3.0 T’ was awarded first prize in the hyperpolarised MRI meeting in May 2016. The poster authors are: Madhwesha Rao, Neil Stewart, Graham Norquay, Paul Griffiths and Jim Wild.

Human Brain Perfusion

The scientific research focuses on developing a novel procedure to image human brain perfusion with inhaled hyperpolarised xenon-129 MRI. In this procedure MR sensitivity of xenon-129 is drastically increased to an order of thousands using spin-exchange-optical-pumping. Xenon-129 being a noble gas is then safely inhaled into the lungs, which dissolves into pulmonary blood and is transferred to the brain. Up on reaching the brain, xenon-129 passively crosses the blood brain barrier into extravascular tissue compartments such as grey matter and white matter. Using custom developed unique radio frequency detectors developed by Madhwesha Rao as part of his PhD, the dissolved xenon-129 is imaged. Imaging xenon-129 in extravascular compartment in the human brain in a safe manner is the main advantage of this invention which cannot be accomplished by contemporary procedures as they either image intravascular compartments such as perfusion CT and contract enhanced MRI or requires sufficient dose of ionising radiation and radioactive tracers such as oxygen-15 PET, xenon-133 SPECT. Initial results following the first ever image of xenon dissolved in the human brain (see figure above) are very encouraging for future clinical applications and we are evaluating the method for imaging functional imaging in other organs such as the heart and kidney.

Biography: Madhwesha Rao recently completed his PhD in the POLARIS group under the supervision of Jim Wild. He is now leading engineering activities in the POLARIS group and developing new hardware and software for imaging xenon in the human body.

This work was funded by awards from the NIHR, the MRC and a University of Sheffield PhD scholarship.