This new product's consistently excellent images and scan times has made BIDMC's original invention one of the company's most successful product launches.
David Alsop, PhD, Director of MR Research at BIDMC, was convinced that perfusion imaging could be made safer and more effective. A measure of blood supply to tissue, perfusion imaging makes use of a contrast agent to measure tissue function and vascular supply, and is an important tool to guide the diagnosis and treatment of stroke, cerebrovascular disease, brain tumors, dementia, and other diseases. Alsop surmised that replacing the contrast agent with a new MRI technique using radio frequency (RF) pulses could improve accuracy and patient comfort. The trouble was that the most promising approaches for using RF could not be performed on standard clinical imaging systems.After much brainstorming – and no small amount of trial and error – Alsop developed a perfusion method that was fully compatible with existing clinical hardware. As hoped, this new technique, which came to be known as 3D Arterial Spin Labeling, seemed to improve both speed and image quality, especially when used with “multi-slice” studies for imaging of the brain, kidney and liver. A collaboration with General Electric’s MRI Division that began in 2006 helped to translate Alsop’s invention from pilot to product, and subsequently led to the development of an advanced prototype. Responding to highly positive feedback provided by clinical sites worldwide, in 2010, GE launched “3D ASL.” The new product’s consistently excellent images and scan times has made BIDMC’s original invention one of the company’s most successful product launches.