Our overall goal is to serve the clinical and research PET/MR communities by providing access to state-of-the art PET/MR technology both on the software side (quantitation and reconstruction methods, kinetic modeling tools) as well as the hardware/radiochemistry versant (micro-coils, dual PET-MR probes).

Our service activities can be described in three categories: 1) Regional service that enables clinical and pre-clinical PET/MR research; 2) On-site service that enables the deployment of specific software and radiopharmaceuticals using physical resources such as radiopharmacy labs, PET/MR scanner, supercomputers with very large flat physical memory; and 3) Electronic support for research using the electronically downloadable software that will be developed for motion, attenuation and PSF quantitation, PET/MR reconstruction, kinetic modeling, etc.

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    Service Project Title

    Service Project Partner Interaction


    Service partner Funding # Period of Funding

    The PET Radiotracer Translation and Resource Center (PET-RTRC)

    Robert Gropler
    (TR&D 3)

    Washington University

    9/2018 – 5/2023

    The research efforts of the PET-RTRC specifically focus on the development of a PET radiotracers for human imaging to detect important molecular and cellular events that modulate the ubiquitous disease processes of inflammation and oxidative stress. The PET-RTRC simultaneously collaborates with research groups throughout the country who are studying inflammation and oxidative stress to facilitate the development and dissemination of these novel PET radiotracers to study pathological processes in common diseases such as atherosclerosis, various cancers, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. These activities contribute to the overall objective of the PET-RTRC to provide these radiotracers and others currently available to interested collaborators around the country with the goal of using them in biomedical research to improve human health.

    Basic applications for total-body PET in oncology

    Ramsey Badawi
    (TR&D 2, 3)

    UC Davis

    9/2020 – 8/2024

    This project aims to answer the basic questions that the new 2 meter long total body PET scanner (EXPLORER) raises with respect to the current clinical oncology application space: (1) how fast a scan can be performed to obtain standard diagnostic images using total-body PET; (2) whether breath-hold PET is feasible; (3) whether the scanner will support a 25-fold reduction in administered radiotracer activity; (4) whether there is value in delaying imaging to much later time-points after injection than current practice and (5) if the improvements in image quality obtained using standard injected doses and scan times have clinical utility.

    Football Players Health’s Study at Harvard

    Ross Zafonte
    (TR&D 1,2,3)

    Spaulding Rehabilitation Network Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

    Football Player Association
    6/2016 – 6/2023    

    Several studies have suggested an association between traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and the risk of developing dementia later in life. TBIs appear to trigger and exacerbate some of the pathological processes involved in these diseases such as the formation and accumulation of misfolded Tau protein aggregates. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)  is a neurodegenerative disease that has been associated with a history of repetitive head impacts, including those that may associated with concussion symptoms in American football players. The aim of this football players study is to determine the ability of p-Tau PET imaging to detect early stages of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)  in a population at risk of developing this disease. To improve the imaging quality of [18F]-AV-1451 scan, CMITT is applying the developed kernel method-based partial volume effects to the datasets in this project. It can help detect early stages of CTE and resolve the specific tau uptake patterns in CTE.  Also, this study will advance our understanding in the complex mechanism that underlies the development of player-related illnesses and disability.

    Liver parametric PET

    Guobao Wang
    (TR&D 2)

    UC Davis

    9/2020 – 8/2024

    The focus of this project is to develop and optimize the methodology of liver parametric PET and validate its effectiveness for assessing liver inflammation and diagnosing Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in patients with Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). SP4 will (1) develop the technical method of liver parametric PET; (2) Evaluate glucose transport rate K1 as an effective and unique PET biomarker of liver inflammation; (3) Combine liver parametric PET with CT or MR methods for multiparametric NASH diagnosis; (4) Shorten the scan time of liver parametric PET from one hour to fifteen minutes.

    Ultra-high resolution brain PET scanner for in-vivo autoradiography imaging

    Roger Lecomte
    (TR&D 1,2,3)

    University of Sherbrooke Nuclear Medicine & Radiobiology

    9/2018 – 6/2023

    This project is to design, build, and evaluate the Scanner Approaching in Vivo Autoradiographic Neuro Tomography (SAVANT), a next generation PET scanner for ultra-high resolution imaging of the human brain using hardware advances developed by members of this collaborative team to achieve unprecedented spatial resolution and count rate capabilities. The system will have a volumetric resolution close to 1 mm3 (isotropic spatial resolution close to 1 mm), which is approximately 27 fold better than the best dedicated brain PET scanners and 125 fold better than general purpose PET scanners. Such an improvement will allow visualization and quantification of in vivo physiological events as never before possible, such as deposition of tau neurofibrillary tangles in the entorhinal cortex in the prodromal stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dopamine transporter concentration in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area. Investigators in CMITT are working to develop and validate quantitative PET reconstruction algorithms with event-by-event motion compensation for the SAVANT scanner, leveraging head position information measured with an optical tracking system.

    Dopamine function, inflammation and connectivity in PTSD

    Jonathan Nye
    (TR&D 1,2)

    Emory University

    8/11/2020 – 5/31/2024

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with increased inflammation and disruption of the mesocortical and limbic dopamine system. The proposed research will investigate the relationship between inflammation and dopamine function under stress and how disruption of these systems is associated with PTSD, symptom severity, and brain neurocircuitry. Our long-term goal is to improve our mechanistic framework of stress-induced dopaminergic function and the inflammatory response in PTSD, and to identify mechanisms that can predict PTSD symptoms and their severity that may improve future treatment approaches.

    Improving early disease detection and imaging with MRI nanotechnology

    Zdenka Kuncic*
    (TR&D 3)

    University of Sydney Institute of Nanoscale Science and Technology  

    Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering  (ASTE)
    6/2018 – 6/2023

    This project led by Dr. Kuncic aims to develop a unique nanoparticle platform for non-invasively detecting lymph node metastases, cancer staging, and delivering targeted therapy to metastatic tumor cells. The nanoplatform, based on the FDA-approved therapeutic Feraheme, consists of a superparamagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticle integrated with a radiolabel and/or radiotherapeutic, to enable multimodal PET/MR imaging as well as radionuclide therapy localized to a cellular level. Ultimately, this project is motivated by the potential to develop the first nanoplatform that can not only detect lymph node metastases, but also deliver targeted therapy to the metastatic tumor cells with a radio-particle emitter such as 223Ra (an alpha-emitter), which can deliver a lethal dose to nearby tumor cells. CMITT began working with Dr. Kuncic several years ago as a Collaborative Project on the P41 and these interactions have resulted in several joint publications and a joint patent application describing technical advances in FH radiolabeling.

    Demyelination in the injured human spinal cord

    Clas Linnman
    (TR&D 1, 3)

    Spaulding Hospital, Neuroimaging Lab

    E.R.&M.J. Gordon Fund for the Cure and Treatment of Paralysis
    4/2020 – 3/2023

    The goal of this project is to develop accurate methods to measure demyelination after spinal cord injury (SCI) to facilitate the development and evaluation of novel treatments. The aim of this project is to obtain the first in vivo evidence of spinal cord demyelination in humans with chronic SCI using PET. To do this, we will use [18F]3F4AP, a novel PET radiotracer based on 4-aminopyridine (4AP, dalfampridine), a potassium (K+) channel blocker that is FDA approved for treating multiple sclerosis (MS). The radioligand selectively binds to the potassium channels that are exposed when myelin is absent, and based on animal studies, we hypothesize elevated [18F]3F4AP signal throughout the injured spinal cord as compared to healthy subjects, and with further enhanced uptake at the lesion epicenter.

    Motion-resolved, comprehensive quantitative tissue characterization using MR Multitasking

    Debiao Li

    (TR&D 2)

    Cedars-Sinai Medical Center


    Quantitative MRI measures tissue parameters to detect subtle differences in tissue states from neurological, oncological, and cardiovascular diseases. However, quantitative MRI is typically very time consuming and difficult to perform. Each parameter is typically measured from its own series of images, so measuring multiple parameters leads to long, inefficient scanning sessions. The goal of this project is to develop and validate a new technology, MR Multitasking, to perform multiple simultaneous measurements in a single, push-button scan that is both comfortable for patients and simple for technologists to perform.

    Targeted molecular probes for atherosclerosis imaging and therapy

    Yongjian Liu
    (TR&D 3)

    Washington University at St. Louis

    2/2019 – 1/2026

    This project aims to develop a portfolio of targeted molecular probes for chemokine receptors capable of identifying patients with high-risk atherosclerosis and phenotyping patients for personalized treatment in future translation settings. Due to the critical role of inflammation in atherosclerosis, it is hypothesized that the functional detection of the targets up-regulated during the innate and adaptive cellular responses in atherogenesis will provide most accurate diagnostic and prognostic measurement of plaque vulnerability and complication. Thus, this project aims to develop targeted PET imaging agents for real-time atherosclerosis imaging and management of treatment.

    Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research (CAI2R)

    Daniel Sodickson
    (TR&D 1, 2, 3)

    New York University, School of Medicine


    The Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research (CAI2R) pursues a mission of bringing people together to create new ways of seeing. They work to create new paradigms for the acquisition, reconstruction, and interpretation of biomedical images. They implement new models of interdisciplinary collaboration in order to rapidly translate new technological developments into clinical practice. They discover new knowledge, invent new technologies, and develop new devices to advance medical imaging and improve human health.

    Previous service projects

    Service Project Title

    Service Project Partner Interaction


    Service partner Funding # Period of Funding

    Targeting Choline Phospholipid Metabolism in Lymphangioleiomyomatosis

    Carmen Priolo*
    (TR&D 3)

    Brigham & Women’s Hospital Medicine, Pulmonary & Critical Care

    12/2015 – 11/2021

    The investigators have identified aberrant choline phospholipid metabolism in cellular models of LAM and elevated choline-containing phospholipids in LAM patient plasma compared to healthy women. The original goals of this project were to address the potential for key enzymes of the choline phospholipid pathway in LAM therapeutics and for choline-PET imaging in the monitoring of disease progression and/or response to treatment in LAM. These studies have revealed mitochondrial pathways as key determinants, found a mitochondrial inhibitor as a candidate therapeutic, and identified membrane potential as a promising biomarker. CMITT is working with the Priolo Lab to perform imaging of mitochondrial membrane potential in rodent models of LAM.

      Neurobiological underpinnings of placebo response in depression

    Maurizio Fava, Cristina Cusin*, Diego Pizzagalli
    (TR&D 1,2,3)

    McLean Hospital; Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry

    6/2015 – 6/2021

    Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a serious, debilitating illness that affects 16.6% of the US population in their lifetime. One of the most critical issues in developing new treatments is that in double-blind clinical trials the administration of placebo in MDD can often mimic the effects of FDA-approved antidepressants and lead to a significant improvement in approximately 35% of patients. At present the neurobiological mechanisms underlying placebo responses in MDD are unknown. The hypothesis underlying this research is that mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways implicated in reward anticipation, reinforcement learning, and expectation play a critical role in mediating placebo responses in MDD. This research uses integrated PET/fMRI imaging techniques, to compare simultaneously [11C]-raclopride displacement (an indirect measure of endogenous dopamine release) and BOLD signals within the mesolimbic pathways in patients with MDD who are responders vs. non-responders to placebo. The CMITT team is working to develop and evaluate direct parametric reconstruction techniques to improve detection and characterization of [11C]-raclopride displacement in human scan data collected as part of this SP.

    Petibon Y, Alpert NM, Pizzagalli D, Cusin C, Fava M, Ouyang J, El Fakhri G, Normandin MD. PET imaging of neurotransmission using direct parametric reconstruction. 2020 NeuroImage 221, 117154.

    Exploiting Ferroportin for Cancer Imaging and Therapy

    Jan Grimm  
    (TR&D 3)

    Memorial Sloan Kettering Nuclear Medicine

    6/2017 – 6/2022

    Therapy for advanced cancer is frequently inefficient due to (i) untreatable metastasis; (ii) low therapeutic index of anti-cancer drugs; (iii) insufficient effect on non-rapidly proliferating cells such as cancer stem cells, which give raise to new tumors; (iv) off- target effects; and (v) resistance to drugs. Many aggressive cancers have decreased levels of ferroportin, the sole known cellular exporter of iron, and subsequently higher intracellular iron. The goal of this study is to evaluate the interacting roles of intracellular iron concentration, expression of the cellular iron exporter ferroportin, and iron-induced oxidative stress on cancer biology. Furthermore, the project assesses the potential of Feraheme as a therapeutic agent using MRI to predict efficacy. TR&D3 will provide this SP with radiolabeled Feraheme and derivatives, allowing PET and PET/MR imaging which may improve quantification over MRI alone as well as opening the possibility of Feraheme-based radiotherapy. CMITT is working with the Grimm Lab on the use of radiolabeled Feraheme to image drug distribution, use of radiolabeled TEMPO derivatives to measure oxidative stress in response to Feraheme therapy, and data analysis strategies that integrate iron imaging with T2* MRI, oxidative stress imaging with TEMPO derivatives, and Feraheme distribution to predict tumor response to Feraheme based therapies.

    Imaging Biomarkers of Knee Osteoarthritis

    Ravinder Ragetti
    (TR&D 1,2)

    NYU Langone Health Radiology

    8/2016– 4/2022

    Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease, affecting more than 27 million people in the United States alone. By 2030 approximately 67 million people will be affected by OA. OA is characterized by biochemical, structural and morphologic degradation of components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of articular cartilage. The ECM is composed of primarily two groups of macromolecules including proteoglycan (PG) and collagen fibers. T1ρ and T2 relaxation times are affected by these pathological processes and are the most widely used biochemical cartilage MRI sequences worldwide. The overarching goal of this SP is to develop, evaluate and translate highly accelerated 3D-T1ρ and T2 mapping (each protocol under 5 minutes) for in-vivo knee OA applications on a standard clinical 3T scanner employing novel compressed sensing (CS) and parallel imaging (PI) strategies. The performance of the machine learning method provided by CMITT will be assessed and cross-validated with the rapid 3D-T1ρ methods that use novel compressed sensing and parallel imaging strategies.

    Assessment of Glutamatergic Neurosystem in Fragile X Syndrome for Targeted Therapy

    Anna-Liisa Brownell*
    (TR&D 1,2,3)

    Massachusetts General Hospital Radiology

    CDMRP – W81XWH-17-1-0228 6/2017 – 6/2021

    This research is to investigate the role of the glutamatergic neurosystem in fragile X syndrome (FXS) to better inform targeted pharmacological treatments for this disease. This is achieved using mGlur5 allosteric modulators compounds developed by Dr. Brownell’s group, which are used as PET ligands for both mouse and human studies and as pharmacological therapeutic agents in FXS mouse models. A multimodal PET/MR approach is proposed wherein findings from 18F-FPEB PET mGlur5 receptor studies are combined with those from structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging to interrogate the impacted network of brain areas in FXS for structural and functional correspondences in FXS and control human subjects. Due to the specificity of FXS patients characterized by autistic behavior and mental retardation, motion correction of dynamic 18F-FPEB data is critical to extract quantitative information from these studies. Investigators in CMITT are developing pipelines to reconstruct and process the dynamic PET and MRI data acquired as part of this SP to allow the mapping of mGluR5 expression in control and FXS subjects.

    Imaging Tau, Amyloid, and Neurodegeneration in PPA

    Bradford Dickerson
    (TR&D 1,2,3)

    Massachusetts General Hospital Neurology

    9/2016 – 8/2021

    Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a devastating neurodegenerative syndrome that involves relentless development of aphasia with relative sparing of other cognitive functions, at least early in its course. PPA and its subtypes can be difficult to differentiate from other neurodegenerative disorders and from each other, particularly early in their course. Dr. Dickerson has made substantial preliminary progress toward the development of novel imaging techniques that could be extremely valuable in early specific diagnosis of the molecular basis of specific pathologies underlying PPA. Tau and amyloid imaging tracers were used to attempt to discriminate these underlying molecular pathologies, and FDG-PET, functional connectivity MRI, and morphometric structural MRI were used to measure and longitudinally monitor markers of neurodegeneration in the language network(s) and other brain regions. In this SP, we apply our developed kernel method to [18F]-AV-1451 imaging to improve the image quality.

    PET/MR mapping of myocardial membrane potential

    Georges El Fakhri
    (TR&D 1,2,3)

    Massachusetts General Hospital Radiology

    9/2017 – 6/2022

    The current state-of-the-art technique for ventricular tachycardia (VT) ablation utilizes electroanatomic mapping (EAM) and site-specific electrograms to guide delivery of ablation lesions. Although EAM can assist in distinguishing viable tissue from scar in infarcted areas, it does not represent a true gold standard for differentiating scar from viable or healthy myocardium. The limitations of EAM are reflected in the frequent recurrences (~30%) of VT after ablation. Investigators are using PET/MRI to map both mitochondrial MP and ECS for use in the detection of left ventricular (LV) scar. The approach will provide a full 3D map of myocardial membrane potential, in contrast to the 1-2mm depth beneath the endo- and epicardial surfaces afforded by EAM. The method is noninvasive and well suited to clinical translation for study of a variety of diseases, including ventricular arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, hypertrophy, skeletal muscle disorders, etc. Techniques developed for motion tracking & correction, PET reconstruction, kinetic modeling as well as MR T1 mapping as part TR&D 1-3 will be used by this SP to achieve quantitative mapping of myocardial membrane potential in swine and human subjects.

    Motion-Compensated Simultaneous MRI and PET Imaging

    Roger Fulton
    (TR&D 1,2)

    University of Sydney / Brain & Mind Institute

    Australian Research Council (ARC)

    Head movements during PET and MRI scans can have a detrimental effect on image quality and quantitative measurements. For both modalities, motion correction methods exist that rely on accurate characterization of head motion. In the case of prospective correction in MRI, the motion estimates also need to be delivered in real-time. Dr. Fulton’s group in University of Sydney have developed a method to measure head motion by detecting and tracking scale-invariant feature transform (SIFT), speeded up robust features (SURF), binary robust invariant scalable keypoints (BRISK), or accelerated-KAZE (AKAZE) features native to the forehead. These features can be extracted and described in many ways, with different algorithms offering varying levels of computational efficiency and robustness to scene changes.  CMITT will provide brain PET-MR data acquired on Siemens mMR, Siemens brain PET, or GE Signa TOF-PET-CT to Dr. Roger Fulton’s group to evaluate the performance of their method for these scanners.

    Evaluation of cardiovascular diseases using novel imaging


    Carmela Nappi* & Alberto Cuocolo
    (TR&Ds 1,2,3)

    University Frederico II, Naples
    Nuclear Medicine

    Ricerca Corrente 2015
    RC 2015 2360454

    The aim of this SP is to explore and assess the clinical impact of PET/MR procedures in patients with a range of cardiovascular diseases. FDG-PET, late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) and short inversion time inversion recovery (STIR) MR images will be acquired in these patients using a 3T Siemens Biograph mMR PET/MR scanner. The results will be compared with traditional imaging (PET/CT and/or SPECT and/or CT coronary angiography, and echocardiography) to examine whether PET/MR can improve detection accuracy of myocardial inflammation and intramyocardial fibrosis.

    Novel Technologies for Motion-Compensated Simultaneous MRI and PET Imaging

    Roger Fulton
    (TR&Ds 1,2)

    University of Sydney / Brain & Mind Institute

    Australian ResearchCouncil (ARC)

    MR-PET hybrid imaging brings together two invaluable tools for research and clinical diagnosis. Patient motion can, however, severely distort the images obtained.  This project will develop motion tracking and motion correction technologies applicable to both rigid and nonrigid motion in MR-PET imaging. It will produce new techniques that can be adopted by leading institutions and MR-PET manufacturers to enhance the power of this exciting new imaging technology. The specific aims of Projects TR&D 1 and TR&D 2 will provide technologies that are directly relevant to the above mentioned ARC Discovery Project and that expand the methods proposed to the non-rigid motion framework. 

    Vulnerable and resilient neural networks in early onset of AD and its focal variants

    Marie-Odile Habert*
    (TR&Ds  1,2)

    Université Paris VI,

    Pierre & Marie Curie

    Nuclear Medicine

    National Research Association (ANR)

    The present longitudinal project aims at providing fundamental information about status, changes and pathological alterations affecting large-scale brain networks in patients affected by early onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD). The translational research nature of this study is a core element.  Through a multimodal imaging approach, we will explore how the balance between vulnerable/resilient (functionally hypo or hyper-connected) neural networks plays a role in determining the clinical phenotype and progression in EOAD.

    Unlike amyloid beta imaging where detecting large amyloid beta sheet deposits does not require very high spatial resolution in order to assess spatial conformation of the deposits, Tau imaging requires significantly higher spatial resolution as the neurofibrillary tangle deposits follow a very specific physio-pathology.  Given the requirement for higher resolution PET and advanced MR imaging on a newly installed GE PET/MR, the developments under TR&D 1 & 2 will provide the attenuation correction, PSF modeling and motion compensation that are crucial for this study.  

    Role of FDG PET/MR in the management of cerebral lymphomas in the elderly

    Aurelie Kas*
    (TR&Ds 1,2)

    Hospital PitieSalpetriere ParisNuclear Medicine AOM13233-P130950

    Primitive lymphomas of the nervous system represent 5% of primitive brain tumors and affect a majority of immune-competent patients over the age of 60. Response to therapy is assessed with Gadolinium contrast MR which can mis-diagnose infiltrating forms that do not enhance with Gd. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) using 18F- fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is an established imaging test useful in stratifying and monitoring response to treatment in the majority of lymphomas and especially diffuse large B cell lymphomas.

    There have been two areas of interaction with SP: the first is on simultaneous FDG-PET/ASL-MRI, the second is in the area of attenuation correction using Maximum Likelihood Activity Attenuation (MLAA) methods.

    Simultaneous Multi-band Dynamic Compressed Sensing for 4D Super- resolution MRI

    Jong Chul Ye
    (TR&Ds 1,2,3)

    Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology/Biomed Eng.

    NRF- R1A2A1A11052491

    The improvement of scanning time of the Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging is very important for cardiac imaging or angiography. If we can acquire enough temporal sampling data for those applications, MR can achieve many advantages compared to CT such as no dose exposure and fast functional imaging. In this project, to combine the simultaneous multi-slice (SMS) imaging and compressed sensing (CS) theory, (1) we demonstrate that the combined problem is one of spatiotemporal sampling problems that can maximally utilize the spatiotemporal diversity of a given coil sensitivity; (2) we propose novel sampling patterns, and method to estimate the optimal sampling pattern using an optimization problem; and (3) we develop a super-resolution deformable motion adaptive dynamic compressed sensing algorithm using the proposed sampling patterns.

    Dr Ye efforts in developing methods of fast MR reconstruction fit perfectly within the scope of TR&D2. The novel MRI acquisition and reconstruction in TR&D 1 and TR&D 2 will be compared with the algorithms proposed by Dr Ye and will allow to improve the performance and use of the approaches proposed by Dr Ye under his funded research. 

    FLT-PET/MR for early response monitoring of novel anti-cancer drugs

    Norbert Avril
    (TR&Ds 1,2)

    Univ Hosp Case Medical Ctr Case Western Reserve Univ Radiology

    UHC W039

    3′-deoxy-3′-[F-18]fluorothymidine (FLT) is a suitable PET tracer to noninvasively image cell proliferation.  Multi-parametric MR imaging has shown potential in predicting and monitoring treatment effects in many fields of oncology. The primary objective this study is to determine the feasibility of FLT-PET/MR imaging for early prediction of treatment response in patients undergoing anti-angiogenic cancer treatment. They will assess PET/MRI test-retest reproducibility and compare baseline PET/MRI with PET/MRI after initiation (within 2-4 weeks) of anti-angiogenic therapy. 

    Change in tumor size as treatment progresses, makes partial volume effect a key confounding factor that needs to be taken into account. Therefore, the modeling of the non-stationary PET point spread function (TR&D 1) and MR anatomic prior reconstruction (TR&D 2) will be crucial to address partial volume effects, especially in serial studies where patients are imaged over the course of treatment. 

    Molecular Biomedical Imaging of Cardiovascular Disease

    David Bluemke
    (TR&Ds 1,2,3)

    NIH Clinical Center Radiology

    ZIAEB000072, NIBIB

    Heart failure is a common cardiovascular disorder in the elderly. Its incidence increases with age, affecting up to 10% of people old than 65 years. The primary aim of this study is to investigate noninvasive imaging methods for quantifying diffuse myocardial fibrosis in heart failure patients. Some limitations of PET-CT are the additional radiation exposure from the CT scan, as well as the lack of soft tissue characterization by CT scanning. In addition, no motion compensation technique is currently available for CT scanning. Initial studies have focused on lesion detection using the PET/MR scanner in comparison to the conventional equipment. In order to improve the quality of the PET/MR scanner, their efforts are focusing on methods to improve image registration between the MRI and PET data. 

    The technology proposed in TR&D 1,2 will tremendously improve the expected image quality in our cardiac PET/MR studies as it allows to achieve a spatial resolution of ~3 mm by correcting for cardiac motion and respiratory motion, as well as modeling detector response in a non-stationary way. Furthermore, the simultaneous kinetic modeling of the PET and MR signals proposed in TR&D 3 into a unified framework will allow us to reduce the noise associated with the identification of the kinetic parameters, which will be key in the myocardial tissues. 

    Low-Dose SPECT/CT for Imaging Chemo-Induced Microvascular Cardiotoxicity

    Chi Liu
    (TR&Ds 1,2)

    Yale University Radiology; PET Center

    R01HL123949, NHLBI

    Cancer chemotherapy often induces cardiotoxicity, which can have a significant impact on the overall prognosis and survival of cancer patients. There is an urgent need to develop novel non-invasive imaging techniques that might allow early detection of microvascular injury of patients with cardiotoxicity prior to a drop in ventricular ejection fraction. With this urgent clinical need, we propose to quantify Intramyocardial blood volume (IMBV) as a novel measurement of microcirculation function.  In this project, we will optimize, validate, and translate this low-dose (<2 mSv) quantitative SPECT/CT imaging approach into large animal and human studies. At this point, simultaneous PET/MR is the only available non-invasive imaging modality that can provide in vivo data to validation internal-external correlation voxel by voxel and this is precisely what will be provided to Dr Liu by TR&D 1 and TR&D 2.  

    Accurate MR-based PET Attenuation Correction for Quantitative Clinical Trials

    Raymond Muzic
    (TR&Ds 1,2,3)

    Case Western Reserve University / Radiology


    In order to utilize PET/MR in a clinical trial setting, images must be quantitatively accurate and reproducible across patients and institutions.  Accurate MR-based attenuation correction (MR-AC) is currently a technical barrier to accomplishing these goals. The goal of this academic-industrial collaboration is to address these current limitations of PET/MR by developing accurate and clinically practical methods for whole-body MR-AC. They are interested in comparing the method in TR&D1 with their methods using attenuation coefficients obtained from PET/CT as ground truth. In addition, the method in TR&D1 can be used for estimating attenuation coefficients of lungs.  

    Application of integrated MR- PET in patients with gynecologic cancers

    Tiffany Ting-Fang Shih* & Ruoh- Fang Yen*
    (TR&Ds 1,2)

    National Taiwan University Hospital/Nuclear Medicine

    NTUH 103-A124 1/1/2015-12/31/2018

    MRI is already a routine clinical imaging in staging gynecologic cancer, including cervical and endometrial cancers.  FDG PET can help to evaluate metabolic activity of the equivocal lesions noted on MR imaging, and has a better diagnostic accuracy in detecting lymph node and distant metastasis.  Combining PET and MR image modalities in a single study is expected to have excellent diagnostic performance in the staging of gynecologic cancers. The purpose of this study is to explore the potential role of integrated MR-PET imaging in gynecologic cancers, including proper therapeutic decision and clinical outcome prediction. 

    The point spread function (PSF) modeling in TR&D 1 can be directly applied to our system and greatly improve the quality of our PET/MRI images. The attenuation correction method in TR&D 1 will provide a solution, not available from the manufacturer, to a long standing problem when we apply PET/MRI to imaging soft tissue in gynecologic cancers. The iterative image reconstruction using anatomic prior in TR&D 2 will help us to reduce the partial volume effect, particularly when our MRI image sequence provides great details of anatomical information in the soft tissue. 

    Taiwan Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative – a three-year pilot study

    Tzu-Chen (Dorothy) Yen*
    (TR&Ds 1,2)

    Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

    MOST 103-2325-B-182A-009, National Research Program for Biopharmaceuticals, 12/1/2015-11/30/2018


    Amyloidopathy, cholinopathy, dopamine responsiveness and freezing of gait in PD

    Nicolaas Bohnen
    (TR&Ds 1,2,3)

    University of Michigan Radiology / Neurology

    1I01RX001631, Veterans Affairs 7/1/2016-6/30/2020