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Fast, variable system delay correction for spiral MRI

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging using spiral trajectories has many advantages in speed, efficiency in data-acquistion and robustness to motion and flow related artifacts. The increase in sampling speed, however, requires high performance of the gradient system. Hardware inaccuracies from system delays

Magnetic Resonance Imaging using spiral trajectories has many advantages in speed, efficiency in data-acquistion and robustness to motion and flow related artifacts. The increase in sampling speed, however, requires high performance of the gradient system. Hardware inaccuracies from system delays and eddy currents can cause spatial and temporal distortions in the encoding gradient waveforms. This causes sampling discrepancies between the actual and the ideal k-space trajectory. Reconstruction assuming an ideal trajectory can result in shading and blurring artifacts in spiral images. Current methods to estimate such hardware errors require many modifications to the pulse sequence, phantom measurements or specialized hardware. This work presents a new method to estimate time-varying system delays for spiral-based trajectories. It requires a minor modification of a conventional stack-of-spirals sequence and analyzes data collected on three orthogonal cylinders. The method is fast, robust to off-resonance effects, requires no phantom measurements or specialized hardware and estimate variable system delays for the three gradient channels over the data-sampling period. The initial results are presented for acquired phantom and in-vivo data, which show a substantial reduction in the artifacts and improvement in the image quality.

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2013

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Coronary artery plaque assessment with fast switched dual energy X-ray computed tomography angiography

Description

Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) has a high negative predictive value for ruling out coronary artery disease with non-invasive evaluation of the coronary arteries. My work has attempted to provide metrics that could increase the positive predictive value of coronary

Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) has a high negative predictive value for ruling out coronary artery disease with non-invasive evaluation of the coronary arteries. My work has attempted to provide metrics that could increase the positive predictive value of coronary CTA through the use of dual energy CTA imaging. After developing an algorithm for obtaining calcium scores from a CTA exam, a dual energy CTA exam was performed on patients at dose levels equivalent to levels for single energy CTA with a calcium scoring exam. Calcium Agatston scores obtained from the dual energy CTA exam were within ±11% of scores obtained with conventional calcium scoring exams. In the presence of highly attenuating coronary calcium plaques, the virtual non-calcium images obtained with dual energy CTA were able to successfully measure percent coronary stenosis within 5% of known stenosis values, which is not possible with single energy CTA images due to the presence of the calcium blooming artifact. After fabricating an anthropomorphic beating heart phantom with coronary plaques, characterization of soft plaque vulnerability to rupture or erosion was demonstrated with measurements of the distance from soft plaque to aortic ostium, percent stenosis, and percent lipid volume in soft plaque. A classification model was developed, with training data from the beating heart phantom and plaques, which utilized support vector machines to classify coronary soft plaque pixels as lipid or fibrous. Lipid versus fibrous classification with single energy CTA images exhibited a 17% error while dual energy CTA images in the classification model developed here only exhibited a 4% error. Combining the calcium blooming correction and the percent lipid volume methods developed in this work will provide physicians with metrics for increasing the positive predictive value of coronary CTA as well as expanding the use of coronary CTA to patients with highly attenuating calcium plaques.

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2013

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Frequency response characteristics of respiratory flow-meters

Description

Flow measurement has always been one of the most critical processes in many industrial and clinical applications. The dynamic behavior of flow helps to define the state of a process. An industrial example would be that in an aircraft, where

Flow measurement has always been one of the most critical processes in many industrial and clinical applications. The dynamic behavior of flow helps to define the state of a process. An industrial example would be that in an aircraft, where the rate of airflow passing the aircraft is used to determine the speed of the plane. A clinical example would be that the flow of a patient's breath which could help determine the state of the patient's lungs. This project is focused on the flow-meter that are used for airflow measurement in human lungs. In order to do these measurements, resistive-type flow-meters are commonly used in respiratory measurement systems. This method consists of passing the respiratory flow through a fluid resistive component, while measuring the resulting pressure drop, which is linearly related to volumetric flow rate. These types of flow-meters typically have a low frequency response but are adequate for most applications, including spirometry and respiration monitoring. In the case of lung parameter estimation methods, such as the Quick Obstruction Method, it becomes important to have a higher frequency response in the flow-meter so that the high frequency components in the flow are measurable. The following three types of flow-meters were: a. Capillary type b. Screen Pneumotach type c. Square Edge orifice type To measure the frequency response, a sinusoidal flow is generated with a small speaker and passed through the flow-meter that is connected to a large, rigid container. True flow is proportional to the derivative of the pressure inside the container. True flow is then compared with the measured flow, which is proportional to the pressure drop across the flow-meter. In order to do the characterization, two LabVIEW data acquisition programs have been developed, one for transducer calibration, and another one that records flow and pressure data for frequency response testing of the flow-meter. In addition, a model that explains the behavior exhibited by the flow-meter has been proposed and simulated. This model contains a fluid resistor and inductor in series. The final step in this project was to approximate the frequency response data to the developed model expressed as a transfer function.

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2013

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Novel nuclear magnetic resonance coil for magnetic resonance mesoscopy

Description

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an efficient non-invasive imaging tool widely used in medical field to produce high quality images. The MRI signal is detected with specifically developed radio frequency (RF) systems or "coils". There are several key parameters to

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an efficient non-invasive imaging tool widely used in medical field to produce high quality images. The MRI signal is detected with specifically developed radio frequency (RF) systems or "coils". There are several key parameters to evaluate the performance of RF coils: signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), homogeneity, quality factor (Q factor), sensitivity, etc. The choice of coil size and configuration depends on the object to be imaged. While surface coils have better sensitivity, volume coils are often employed to image a larger region of interest (ROI) as they display better spatial homogeneity. For the cell labeling and imaging studies using the newly developed siloxane based nanoemulsions as 1H MR reporter probes, the first step is to determine the sensitivity of signal detection under controlled conditions in vitro. In this thesis, a novel designed 7 Tesla RF volume coil was designed and tested for detection of small quantities of siloxane probe as well as for imaging of labeled tumor spheroid. The procedure contains PCB circuit design, RF probe design, test and subsequent modification. In this report, both theory and design methodology will be discussed.

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2014

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Lead identification, optimization and characterization of novel cancer treatment strategies using repositioned drugs

Description

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and novel methods of treating advanced malignancies are of high importance. Of these deaths, prostate cancer and breast cancer are the second most fatal carcinomas in men and

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and novel methods of treating advanced malignancies are of high importance. Of these deaths, prostate cancer and breast cancer are the second most fatal carcinomas in men and women respectively, while pancreatic cancer is the fourth most fatal in both men and women. Developing new drugs for the treatment of cancer is both a slow and expensive process. It is estimated that it takes an average of 15 years and an expense of $800 million to bring a single new drug to the market. However, it is also estimated that nearly 40% of that cost could be avoided by finding alternative uses for drugs that have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The research presented in this document describes the testing, identification, and mechanistic evaluation of novel methods for treating many human carcinomas using drugs previously approved by the FDA. A tissue culture plate-based screening of FDA approved drugs will identify compounds that can be used in combination with the protein TRAIL to induce apoptosis selectively in cancer cells. Identified leads will next be optimized using high-throughput microfluidic devices to determine the most effective treatment conditions. Finally, a rigorous mechanistic analysis will be conducted to understand how the FDA-approved drug mitoxantrone, sensitizes cancer cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis.

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2013

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Analytical control grid registration for efficient application of optical flow

Description

Image resolution limits the extent to which zooming enhances clarity, restricts the size digital photographs can be printed at, and, in the context of medical images, can prevent a diagnosis. Interpolation is the supplementing of known data with estimated values

Image resolution limits the extent to which zooming enhances clarity, restricts the size digital photographs can be printed at, and, in the context of medical images, can prevent a diagnosis. Interpolation is the supplementing of known data with estimated values based on a function or model involving some or all of the known samples. The selection of the contributing data points and the specifics of how they are used to define the interpolated values influences how effectively the interpolation algorithm is able to estimate the underlying, continuous signal. The main contributions of this dissertation are three fold: 1) Reframing edge-directed interpolation of a single image as an intensity-based registration problem. 2) Providing an analytical framework for intensity-based registration using control grid constraints. 3) Quantitative assessment of the new, single-image enlargement algorithm based on analytical intensity-based registration. In addition to single image resizing, the new methods and analytical approaches were extended to address a wide range of applications including volumetric (multi-slice) image interpolation, video deinterlacing, motion detection, and atmospheric distortion correction. Overall, the new approaches generate results that more accurately reflect the underlying signals than less computationally demanding approaches and with lower processing requirements and fewer restrictions than methods with comparable accuracy.

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2013

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Generation of macromolecule-templated gold nanoparticles by ionizing radiation

Description

Ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays and X-rays, are becoming more widely used. These high-energy forms of electromagnetic radiation are present in nuclear energy, astrophysics, and the medical field. As more and more people have the opportunity to be exposed

Ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays and X-rays, are becoming more widely used. These high-energy forms of electromagnetic radiation are present in nuclear energy, astrophysics, and the medical field. As more and more people have the opportunity to be exposed to ionizing radiation, the necessity for coming up with simple and quick methods of radiation detection is increasing. In this work, two systems were explored for their ability to simply detect ionizing radiation. Gold nanoparticles were formed via radiolysis of water in the presence of Elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) and also in the presence of cationic polymers. Gold nanoparticle formation is an indicator of the presence of radiation. The system with ELP was split into two subsystems: those samples including isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and acetone, and those without IPA and acetone. The samples were exposed to certain radiation doses and gold nanoparticles were formed. Gold nanoparticle formation was deemed to have occurred when the sample changed color from light yellow to a red or purple color. Nanoparticle formation was also checked by absorbance measurements. In the cationic polymer system, gold nanoparticles were also formed after exposing the experimental system to certain radiation doses. Unique to the polymer system was the ability of some of the cationic polymers to form gold nanoparticles without the samples being irradiated. Future work to be done on this project is further characterization of the gold nanoparticles formed by both systems.

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2012

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Design of apoferritin-based nanoparticle MRI contrast agents through controlled metal deposition

Description

Sensitivity is a fundamental challenge for in vivo molecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here, I improve the sensitivity of metal nanoparticle contrast agents by strategically incorporating pure and doped metal oxides in the nanoparticle core, forming a soluble, monodisperse, contrast

Sensitivity is a fundamental challenge for in vivo molecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here, I improve the sensitivity of metal nanoparticle contrast agents by strategically incorporating pure and doped metal oxides in the nanoparticle core, forming a soluble, monodisperse, contrast agent with adjustable T2 or T1 relaxivity (r2 or r1). I first developed a simplified technique to incorporate iron oxides in apoferritin to form "magnetoferritin" for nM-level detection with T2- and T2* weighting. I then explored whether the crystal could be chemically modified to form a particle with high r1. I first adsorbed Mn2+ ions to metal binding sites in the apoferritin pores. The strategic placement of metal ions near sites of water exchange and within the crystal oxide enhance r1, suggesting a mechanism for increasing relaxivity in porous nanoparticle agents. However, the Mn2+ addition was only possible when the particle was simultaneously filled with an iron oxide, resulting in a particle with a high r1 but also a high r2 and making them undetectable with conventional T1-weighting techniques. To solve this problem and decrease the particle r2 for more sensitive detection, I chemically doped the nanoparticles with tungsten to form a disordered W-Fe oxide composite in the apoferritin core. This configuration formed a particle with a r1 of 4,870mM-1s-1 and r2 of 9,076mM-1s-1. These relaxivities allowed the detection of concentrations ranging from 20nM - 400nM in vivo, both passively injected and targeted to the kidney glomerulus. I further developed an MRI acquisition technique to distinguish particles based on r2/r1, and show that three nanoparticles of similar size can be distinguished in vitro and in vivo with MRI. This work forms the basis for a new, highly flexible inorganic approach to design nanoparticle contrast agents for molecular MRI.

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2012

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Multi-parametric MRI Study of Brain Insults (Traumatic Brain Injury and Brain Tumor) in Animal Models

Description

The objective of this small animal pre-clinical research project was to study quantitatively the long-term micro- and macro- structural brain changes employing multiparametric MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) techniques. Two separate projects make up the basis of this thesis. The first

The objective of this small animal pre-clinical research project was to study quantitatively the long-term micro- and macro- structural brain changes employing multiparametric MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) techniques. Two separate projects make up the basis of this thesis. The first part focuses on obtaining prognostic information at early stages in the case of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in rat animal model using imaging data acquired at 24-hours and 7-days post injury. The obtained parametric T2 and diffusion values from DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) showed significant deviations in the signal intensities from the control and were potentially useful as an early indicator of the severity of post-traumatic injury damage. DTI was especially critical in distinguishing between the cytotoxic and vasogenic edema and in identification of injury regions resolving to normal control values by day-7. These results indicate the potential of quantitative MRI as a clinical marker in predicting prognosis following TBI. The second part of this thesis focuses on studying the effect of novel therapeutic strategies employing dendritic cell (DC) based vaccinations in mice glioma model. The treatment cohorts included comparing a single dose of Azacytidine drug vs. mice getting three doses of drug per week. Another cohort was used as an untreated control group. The MRI results did not show any significant changes in between the two treated cohorts with no reduction in tumor volumes compared to the control group. The future studies would be focused on issues regarding the optimal dose for the application of DC vaccine. Together, the quantitative MRI plays an important role in the prognosis and diagnosis of the above mentioned pathologies, providing essential information about the anatomical location, micro-structural tissue environment, lesion volume and treatment response.

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2014

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Poly(amino ether) based Polymeric and Nanoparticle Systems for Nucleic Acid Delivery and Bioimaging

Description

Gold nanoparticles have emerged as promising nanomaterials for biosensing, imaging, photothermal treatment and therapeutic delivery for several diseases, including cancer. We have generated poly(amino ether)-functionalized gold nanorods (PAE-GNRs) using a layer-by-layer deposition approach. Sub-toxic concentrations of PAE-GNRs were employed to

Gold nanoparticles have emerged as promising nanomaterials for biosensing, imaging, photothermal treatment and therapeutic delivery for several diseases, including cancer. We have generated poly(amino ether)-functionalized gold nanorods (PAE-GNRs) using a layer-by-layer deposition approach. Sub-toxic concentrations of PAE-GNRs were employed to deliver plasmid DNA to prostate cancer cells in vitro. PAE-GNRs generated using 1,4C-1,4Bis, a cationic polymer from our laboratory demonstrated significantly higher transgene expression and exhibited lower cytotoxicities when compared to similar assemblies generated using 25 kDa poly(ethylene imine) (PEI25k-GNRs), a current standard for polymer-mediated gene delivery. Additionally, sub-toxic concentrations of 1,4C-1,4Bis-GNR nanoassemblies were employed to deliver expression vectors that express shRNA ('shRNA plasmid') against firefly luciferase gene in order to knock down expression of the protein constitutively expressed in prostate cancer cells. The roles of poly(amino ether) chemistry and zeta-potential in determining transgene expression efficacies of PAE-GNR assemblies were investigated. The theranostic potential of 1,4C-1,4Bis-GNR nanoassemblies was demonstrated using live cell two-photon induced luminescence bioimaging. The PAE class of polymers was also investigated for the one pot synthesis of both gold and silver nanoparticles using a small library poly(amino ethers) derived from linear-like polyamines. Efficient nanoparticle synthesis dependent on concentration of polymers as well as polymer chemical composition is demonstrated. Additionally, the application of poly(amino ether)-gold nanoparticles for transgene delivery is demonstrated in 22Rv1 and MB49 cancer cell lines. Base polymer, 1,4C-1,4Bis and 1,4C-1,4Bis templated and modified gold nanoparticles were compared for transgene delivery efficacies. Differences in morphology and physiochemical properties were investigated as they relate to differences in transgene delivery efficacy. There were found to be minimal differences suggestion that 1,4C-1,4Bis efficacy is not lost following use for nanoparticle modification. These results indicate that poly(amino ether)-gold nanoassemblies are a promising theranostic platform for delivery of therapeutic payloads capable of simultaneous gene silencing and bioimaging.

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2014