Hyperpolarized MRI Technology Resource Center

The Hyperpolarized MRI Technology Resource Center (HMTRC)  is a Biomedical Resource Technology Center funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) focuses on the development and dissemination of new advances in dissolution DNP techniques and instrumentation, specialized data acquisition methodology, and analysis software for biomedical research. 

Hyperpolarized MR is an emerging molecular imaging method to monitor enzymatic conversions through key, previously-inaccessible biochemical pathways.  Through numerous studies to date, hyperpolarized carbon-13 MR has shown outstanding research and potential clinical value, but requires major technological development to realize its full potential.  This motivation, coupled with the rapidly expanding interest at other sites, compelled us to create the “Hyperpolarized MRI Technology Resource Center”.  

This center is based on three Technology Research & Development (TR&D) projects led by experienced hyperpolarized MR researchers.  TR&D1 is focused on DNP polarizer and MR acquisition development and pre-clinical animal studies.  TR&D2 focuses on the development of new robust and realistic pre-clinical models for HP MR studies, optimization of current HP probes & investigation of new HP probes, and the development of methods that provide appropriate correlative pathologic, biologic and other imaging data for understanding and validating HP MR findings.  TR&D3 focuses on the development of a free open-source specialized data analysis platform for HP MR data reconstruction and interpretation.  All TR&D developments are driven in a push-pull interaction by the independently funded Collaborative Projects and the technology resources of the center are utilized by Service Projects and disseminated to all interested investigators through hands-on workshops, symposia, visits/training, formal courses, and our center website.  

The goal of the HMTRC is to collaboratively develop new technology to advance this field in order to better identify and understand human disease and ultimately to translate and disseminate these techniques for improved healthcare.  

Featured Publication*

Hyperpolarized 1-[13C]-Pyruvate Magnetic Resonance Imaging Detects an Early Metabolic Response to Androgen Ablation Therapy in Prostate Cancer

​Authors:  Aggarwal R, Vigneron DB, Kurhanewicz J

Hyperpolarized (HP) 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) is a novel imaging technique that allows rapid and noninvasive monitoring of dynamic pathway-specific metabolic and physiologic processes [1] with unprecedented gain in sensitivity (10 000–200 000 fold increase) for imaging of 13C-labeled biomolecules that are endogenous, nontoxic, and nonradioactive [2,3]. We previously reported the first-in-human phase 1 clinical study of HP [13C]-pyruvate MRSI in patients with prostate cancer on active surveillance, and confirmed the feasibility of capturing regions of accelerated HP pyruvate-to-lactate flux in high-grade versus low-grade cancer versus benign tissue [4].

Here we describe the first results demonstrating the metabolic response to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) using HP [13C]-pyruvate MRSI. The patient presented with serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) of 25.2 ng/ml and Gleason 4 + 5 prostate adenocarcinoma on biopsy. Cross-sectional imaging demonstrated metastases within the pelvic nodes and osseous structures. Baseline multiparametric (mp) 1H MRI of the prostate (anatomic imaging, diffusion-weighted imaging [DWI], dynamic contrast-enhanced [DCE] imaging, and 3D 1H MRSI) with HP [13C]-pyruvate revealed a bulky tumor involving the left apex, mid gland, and base peripheral and transition zones, and right apex, mid gland, and base peripheral zone, measuring 4.5 × 1.5 × 5.1 cm3. T2-weighted MRI showed a well-defined focus of low signal intensity (T2 score 5/5; Fig. 1A). The lesion also had marked restricted diffusion (DWI score 5/5; apparent diffusion coefficient [ADC] 930) and was DCE-positive, with increased uptake and washout of contrast agent, and MRSI-positive, with elevated choline and reduced citrate on 1H MRSI. The overall Prostate Imaging-Reporting and Data System v.2 score was 5.  Click on image to access publication in PubMed.  PMID: 28765011

*Hyperpolarized 1-[13C]-Pyruvate Magnetic Resonance Imaging Detects an Early Metabolic Response to Androgen Ablation Therapy in Prostate Cancer.  2017


***Please acknowledge NIBIB P41EB013598 in any publications that have benefitted from this center***   


Links to other NIH Resource Centers




***If you would like to donate to the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging or to Dr. Daniel Vigneron, please complete the online giving form. To support this new imaging development, under choose a designation, select "other" and enter Dr. Daniel Vigneron. Your kind contribution and support is greatly appreciated by the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and the HMTRC Executive Members.***