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 Publications*

Publication #1 Title: Kinetic Modeling of Hyperpolarized Carbon-13 Pyruvate Metabolism in the Human Brain

Authors: Danielle Mammoli, Jeremy Gordon, Adam Autry, Peder Larson, Yan Li, Hsin-Yu Chen, Brian Chung, Peter Shin, Mark Van Criekinge, Lucas Carvajal, James L, Slater, Robert Bok, Jason Crane, Duan Xu, Susan Chang, Daniel Vigneron

Abstract: Kinetic modeling of the in vivo pyruvate-to-lactate conversion is crucial to investigating aberrant cancer metabolism that demonstrates Warburg effect modifications. Non-invasive detection of alterations to metabolic flux might offer prognostic value and improve the monitoring of response to treatment. In this clinical research project, hyperpolarized 1-13C pyruvate was intravenously injected in 10 brain tumor patients to measure its rate of conversion to lactate (kPL) and bicarbonate (kPB) via echo-planar imaging. Our aim was to investigate new methods to provide kPL and kPB maps with whole-brain coverage. The approach was data-driven and addressed two main issues: selecting the optimal model for fitting our data and determining an appropriate goodness-of-fit metric. The statistical analysis suggested that an input-less model had the best agreement with the data. It was also found that selecting voxels based on postfitting error criteria provided improved precision and wider spatial coverage compared to using signal-to-noise cutoffs alone.

Publication #2 Title: Hyperpolarized 13C MRI: State of the Art and Future Directions

Authors: Zhen J. Wang , Michael A. Ohliger, Peder E. Z. Larson, Jeremy W. Gordon, Robert A. Bok, James Slater, Javier E. Villanueva-Meyer, Christopher P. Hess, John Kurhanewicz, Daniel B. Vigneron.

Abstract: Hyperpolarized (HP) carbon 13 (13C) MRI is an emerging molecular imaging method that allows rapid, noninvasive, and pathway-specific investigation of dynamic metabolic and physiologic processes that were previously inaccessible to imaging. This technique has enabled real-time in vivo investigations of metabolism that are central to a variety of diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic diseases of the liver and kidney. This review provides an overview of the methods of hyperpolarization and 13C probes investigated to date in preclinical models of disease. The article then discusses the progress that has been made in translating this technology for clinical investigation. In particular, the potential roles and emerging clinical applications of HP [1-13C]pyruvate MRI will be highlighted. The future directions to enable the adoption of this technology to advance the basic understanding of metabolism, to improve disease diagnosis, and to accelerate treatment assessment are also detailed.

Translation of Carbon‐13 EPI for hyperpolarized MR molecular imaging of prostate and brain cancer patients

Featured Publication #1: Pulse sequence considerations for quantification of pyruvate-to-lactate conversion kPL in hyperpolarized 13C imaging.  2019.  PMCID: PMC6380928 [Available on 2020-03-01] DOI: 10.1002/nbm.4052

Featured Publication#2: Hyperpolarized 13C MRI: State of the Art and Future Directions.  2019.  PMCID: PMC6490043 [Available on 2020-05-01] DOI: 10.1148/radiol.2019182391

 Link to Previously Featured Publications

***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.***