Unrivalled quantitative MRI of the biliary tree could be the next generation in diagnosis and monitoring for patients with biliary disease

March 11, 2020
Biliary Disease
New Publication
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Oxford, 11th March, 2020. A new tool providing accurate and precise measurements over the entire biliary tree could address unmet needs in biliary diseases, latest research shows. The study published by Perspectum in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging demonstrates how the ground-breaking software, MRCP+, can process a routine non-invasive MRI scan to provide state-of-the-art visualization and quantification of bile ducts. The research concluded that the software, which is based on advanced image processing and AI techniques, can be used to objectively assess changes in biliary anatomy.

Patients with biliary diseases can have a poor prognosis, with a large proportion requiring a liver transplant. This is not helped by the difficulty in diagnosing biliary disease correctly and the limited treatments available. Biliary disease is standardly assessed using a type of scan called MRCP, but its interpretation is subjective with low agreement between readers. The lack of objective biomarkers means that patients may not receive the most appropriate care, and drug development is hindered.

The current study used MRCP+, which is FDA-cleared and CE-marked for clinical use, to calculate biliary tree metrics from MRCP images for 40 participants (20 healthy and 20 diseased). Data were acquired on scanners from three different vendors at two magnetic field strengths. The results revealed significant differences in biliary tree metrics between healthy and diseased groups highlighting how MRCP+ could be used to improve diagnosis and patient stratification. Normal ranges for biliary tree metrics were derived from the healthy cohort which could in the future be used to support clinical decision making. The high precision results suggest that MRCP+ can be used for monitoring disease progression and response to treatment, therefore playing an important role in drug discovery and development, ultimately to improve care and quality of life for biliary disease patients.

Professor Sir Mike Brady, senior author on the paper commented, ‘This paper stems from close collaborations between Image Analysis, Data Science, MRI physics, Clinical Science, and clinicians specialising in Hepatobiliary Medicine.  Though, as scientists, we are encouraged by the results reported in the paper, the ultimate beneficiaries will be patients treated by clinicians using our methods as decision support’.

Read the full paper here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmri.27113