TITLE: Technology for Functional and Metabolic Imaging with Hyperpolarized MRI
TYPE OF AWARD: Pilot
CLINICAL AREA:  Heart
INSTITUTION:  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
DESCRIPTION: MRI provides a wealth of anatomical information, but its ability to assess functional parameters such as blood flow (perfusion) and metabolism is limited by its low sensitivity and the limited range of available contrast agents. This limitation negatively impacts virtually every clinical scenario where contrast- enhanced imaging plays a role, including cancer, heart disease, and stroke, to name a few. In the work proposed here, we hope to build the basis for a new approach to diagnostic imaging based on a technology known as hyperpolarized carbon-13 MRI. In hyperpolarized MRI, a tracer molecule is prepared exogenously in a state of dramatically enhanced nuclear magnetization and administered intravenously, enabling real-time imaging of the transport, uptake, and metabolism the tracer. Molecules including glucose, glutamine, and pyruvate can be imaged with this technology. Applications to heart disease, lung, cancer, diabetes, and inflammation have been demonstrated pre-clinically, and clinical trials in heart disease and cancer are underway.  Widespread adoption of hyperpolarization technology has been hampered by the complexity, poor reliability and high cost of existing instruments for preparing hyperpolarized agents. Here we propose to develop alternative technology for hyperpolarization based on simple, inexpensive hardware that employs a method known as parahydrogen-induced polarization (PHIP). As a first step toward development of this technology, in this Pilot application we propose to develop and test a novel myocardial perfusion imaging agent that is tailored for use with parahydrogen-based hyperpolarizers.