Monday, August 25, 2008
Eric Ahrens, Ph.D., and Colleagues Develop MRI Technology
PHILADELPHIA—Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) isn't just for capturing detailed images of the body's anatomy. Thanks to novel imaging reagents and technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University scientist Eric Ahrens, MRI can be used to visualize — with "exquisite" specificity — cell populations of interest in the living body. The ability to non-invasively locate and track cells, such as immune cells, will greatly aid the study and treatment of cancer, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases, as well as provide a tool for advancing clinical translation of the emerging field of cellular regenerative medicine, by tracking stem cells for example.
Ahrens will present his research on this new approach, called fluorocarbon labeling, Thursday, Aug. 21 at the 236th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.
"With our technology we can image specific cells in real-time with exquisite selectivity, which allows us to track their location and movement and to count the apparent number of cells present. We then use conventional MRI to obtain a high-resolution image that places the labeled cells in their anatomical context," said Ahrens, an associate professor of biological sciences at the Mellon College of Science.