Predicting patient survival - a new method of MRI

A new scanning technique to monitor how glioblastoma tumours respond to treatment.

Researchers at Imperial College London have developed a new MRI scanning technique that will accurately measure how a tumour is responding to therapy.

Standard MRI is used to monitor tumour development, however this procedure may not give reliable results: tumours can appear to have grown when they are responding well to therapy and vice versa. New methods which give accurate feedback on the tumours growth are therefore essential.

The team, led by Dr Adam Waldman, have developed a technique called Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) which measures the properties of water in both the tumour and surrounding brain to detect changes in growth. These changes can be identified at an earlier stage using DWI in comparison with standard MRI.

This technique will now be trialled in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients across five different brain tumour research centres to confirm whether DWI is a more reliable method than standard MRI. This study will also investigate whether the results obtained from DWI can indicate patient progress and survival.

The team hope that DWI will lead to personalisation of treatment. Doctors will be able to tell from an early stage whether or not the tumour is responding to therapy, and so treatment can be altered according to the patient's needs. This method may also be used in clinical trials to determine how effective new drugs are.

Project Information

Formal title: Quantitative diffusion imaging for early treatment response and progression evaluation in adult high grade gliomas; a multicentre study (NCRI brain Clinical Studies Group, Imaging Subgroup)

Key Researcher: Dr. Adam Waldman, Imperial College and NHS Trust, London

Tumour type: Glioblastoma

Research type: Tumour biology

Timing: Granted in May 2013 for three years