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Grantee News · December 12, 2012

NIBIB-funded researcher Stan Opella, Ph.D, has developed a new technique for determining the structure of G-Protein coupled receptors (GPCRs,) one which does not require the massive physiological modifications demanded from the current technology, X-ray crystallography. Read a related article from the NIBIB: Understanding Critical Protein Structures May Speed Drug Development.

Science Highlights · December 10, 2012
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Researchers at Duke University have developed a new ultrasound imaging technique that non-invasively detects tumors and fibrosis in the liver, thus avoiding the pain and complications associated with biopsy. These researchers are also extending the technique to aid in diagnosing other diseases, as well.

NIBIB grantees Kathy Nightingale, Ph.D., the James L. Vincent Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke, and Gregg Trahey, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke and their co-investigators, developed the technique, called Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse imaging (ARFI). The technique has been licensed and adopted for use in new Siemens ultrasound imaging systems in Europe, and clinical studies there and in Asia are showing results consistent with findings from Dr. Nightingale’s lab. While this tool is not yet available in the U.S., Siemens is currently pursuing FDA approval to market it in the U.S.

This is an images of two ultrasound images of the same liver with cirrhosis, hepatitis C, and HIV.  One image was taken using basic ultrasound. The other was taken using ARFI. In the ARFI image, you can see a white spot which indicates liver damage.
Fig 1. ARFI: In Vivo - Liver - Hepatocellular Carcinoma2. Patient with liver cirrhosis, hepatitis C, HIV+.
HCC appears softer than surrounding cirrhotic liver tissue.
Source: Duke Biomedical Engineering (Click on image to enlarge)

Background

As with most diseases, the ability to detect liver fibrosis in its early stages has a significant impact on whether or not a patient survives. The current gold standard for diagnosing liver fibrosis is biopsy —a procedure that is painful, expensive, can cause complications, and cannot be performed frequently enough to effectively track the progression of the disease. When the liver has been damaged -- whether by excessive alcohol intake, hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or from some inherited conditions — healthy liver tissue begins to transform into stiff scars that disrupt the activity of the liver, a condition known as cirrhosis. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis affect more than 5.5 million people in the United States, causing over 31,000 deaths due to liver failure in

NIBIB in the News · December 10, 2012
The mHealth summit last week in Washington, D.C. provided conference attendees with the opportunity to evaluate the state of the field, discuss regulatory issues, and ponder the future of mobile health technologies. Read the full article from The Atlantic.
NIBIB in the News · December 9, 2012
At the recent mHealth summit in Washington, D.C., Dr. Pettigrew described the handheld Diagnostic Magnetic Resonance (DMR) device developed by NIBIB-funded researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital. Read the full article from Vanguard.
Grantee News · November 24, 2012

The New York Times features NIBIB grantees Bob Langer and Ralph Weissleder as being “on the front lines of turning discoveries made in the lab into a range of drugs and drug deliver systems. Without this kind of technology transfer, the thinking goes, scientific discoveries might well sit on the shelf, stifling innovation.” Read the full article from The New York Times.

Grantee News · November 20, 2012

NIBIB-funded research has resulted in a new spectrum of voltage-sensitive dyes (VSDs) that improves optical imaging of brain and heart electrical activity. Fluorinated hemicyanine dyes provide spectral compatibility with newly available optical technologies, offering better photostability and improving the signal to noise ratio (S:N) of the optically recorded voltage activity in cells, tissues, and organs. Read the full article from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

NIBIB in the News · November 19, 2012
NIBIB-funded researchers at Northwestern develop new approach to treat autoimmune disease. Comments by William Heetderks, Ph. D., NIBIB Associate Director of Extramural Programs are included. Read more about breakthroughs regarding the immune system and Multiple Sclerosis.
Grantee News · November 19, 2012

In a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS), NIBIB-funded researchers Stephen Miller and Lonnie Shea at Northwestern University have developed innovative biotechnology to selectively inhibit the part of the immune system responsible for attacking myelin–the insulating material that encases nerve fibers and facilitates electrical communication between brain cells. Read the full article from Northwestern University.

Science Highlights · November 19, 2012
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A picture speaks a thousand words, and when the picture is an x-ray, ultrasound, MRI scan, or other medical image, it is an essential chapter in a person’s health history. Every day, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals rely on such images and other medical multimedia in diagnosing or monitoring illnesses and planning a patient’s care.

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