You are here

Development of a Frontier Magnetic Resonance (MR) Imaging Technology As a Tool for Visualization and Quantified Vascular-Feature Measurement for Use in Brain and Behavioral Research on Small Animals

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R43MH129045-01
Agency Tracking Number: R43MH129045
Amount: $436,556.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 101
Solicitation Number: PA18-819
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-01-11
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-01-10
Small Business Information
Medford, MA 02155-4728
United States
DUNS: 081313748
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (857) 222-8879
Business Contact
Phone: (857) 222-8879
Research Institution

The burden of mental illness continues to be a growing challenge in the United States. At the same time, the
scientific community continues to study the brain and behavior, revealing relationships between brain structure
and function and physiology and illness. The outer scope of brain and behavior research is governed by the
imaging and analytical tools available to scientists. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has greatly improved the
study of the brain. However, even advanced forms of the technology have significant limitations. Specifically, all
MRI techniques rely on a qualitative signal for semi-quantitative measurements. Moreover, standard MRI
acquisition exhibit as much as 70% signal amplitude bias change with the orientation of the cerebral cortical (and
hence the large pial vessels) relative to magnetic field. Quantitative Ultra-short Time-to-Echo Contrast-Enhanced
(QUTE-CE, pronounced “cute-see”) MRI is a novel imaging modality that generates a quantitative signal directly
representative of physiological information that can broaden the outer limit of what current technology makes
possible. QUTE-CE advantages, thus far, include production of the highest quantitative measurement of CA
concentration in mice; development of unprecedent non-invasive in vivo maps of brain vascular structure (CBV);
mapping of neurofunctional response; biomarkers for cancer treatment efficacy; and, measurement of blood-
brain barrier (BBB) leakage. This project strives to create a robust software suite to overcome current limitations
unlocking the potential of phMRI and fMRI measurement with higher sampling time, increasing signal-to-noise
by 1.67 compared to radial sampling and enabling sliding-window reconstruction for simultaneous high-spatial
and temporal image reconstruction using the same data set. To achieve this, the project aims to develop and
optimize a software prototype for use with industry-standard 7T small animal research scanners, implementing
Imaginostics’ proprietary 3D UTE Radial Cones Pulse Sequence. Next, the project strives to test software
prototypes and analytically characterize biomarkers. The goal of the project is to ultimately improve and
standardize measurements to complement or replace existing options for a more precise approach that is
uniquely quantitative at both the individual and group levels. This means potentially fewer animals would be
needed to arrive at meaningful results. Moreover, structural, functional and BBB leakage metrics can be captured
within one imaging session, greatly enriching the study of healthy and disordered brains. Overall, these efforts
can help advance pre-clinical and related brain research efforts on small animals, by incorporating a novel MRI
imaging technology into the repertoire of researchers.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government