MRI to Assess Bone Marrow Blood Flow

Among the new spinoffs of MRI technology is the recently developed method of assessing bone marrow flow, which can provide valuable information on the abnormal cells in the marrow in conditions such as leukemia or multiple myeloma. IT is also being studies in conditions such as prostate cancer that can involve the marrow. The most common method to measure perfusion in the body using MRI is T1-weighted dynamic contrast enhancement (DCE-MRI). The analysis of DCE-MRI data allows determining the perfusion and permeability of a biological tissue. Because this is a non-invasice method, ot can be regularly repeated. So, for example, if flow increases in the marrow after chemotherapy, there may have been a response to treatment.

This is an exciting new develpment but the technology itself is still being refined and tested. Few papers have appeared that clearly define its role in assessment of therapy and prognostic significance. It is already being studied in various cancers that invade the marrow as well as in the assessment of fractures and osteoporosis but much more work needs to be done before it will become widely accepted.

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