Seeking to transform patient care through more accurate diagnostics

Advances in imaging technologies give a non-invasive look inside the body and support a wide range of new research and clinical applications for diagnosis and intervention planning. Higher resolution MRI and integration of scans such as X-ray and ultrasound can now measure fetal development, probe brain connectivity and function, model how well the heart pumps, identify precision surgical targets and track tumour response to chemotherapy like never before. Combining novel research hardware (through our Imaging Clinical Research Facility) with state-of-the-art supercomputing and AI capabilities, we seek to transform patient care through more accurate diagnostics, better risk-stratification and therapy guidance.

Our research is delivered through seven programmes:

  • Programme 1. Cellular imaging in vivo.
  • Programme 2. Novel imaging chemistry.
  • Programme 3: Ultra-high field MRI (7T).
  • Programme 4: Fundamental advances in value and applicability of MRI, PET and ultrasound.
  • Programme 5: Advanced image-guided interventions.
  • Programme 6: Imaging the developing human.
  • Programme 7: Advanced data analysis.

Example projects

  • Non-invasive imaging of coronary artery disease Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death world-wide and is diagnosed through X-ray and invasive procedures. We have engineered a novel coronary magnetic resonance angiography (CMRA) technology for diagnosing CAD, which is non-invasive, ionising radiation-free and contrast-free and to-date and have diagnosed >250 patients with suspected CAD (Bustin A. et al. (2020) and Hajhosseiny et al. (2021) Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 22(1):24 and 23(1):57) and we have been working in collaboration with Siemens Healthineers on the clinical translation of these techniques.

 

  • Smart radiochemistry to image prostate cancer Prostate cancer kills over 10,000 men annually in the UK alone. Imaging is central to managing prostate cancer however, making radiotracers is often complex, requiring time-consuming and costly preparation. We have developed a novel molecule which helps to synthesise radiotracers using a simple and quick single-vial kit, named Galliprost1 which has helped improve treatment decisions in over 1,500 patients globally to-date, allowing more appropriate and effective treatment and provided significant cost savings to the NHS. (Young JD. et al. (2017) Journal of Nuclear Medicine 58(8):1270-1277)

 

  • Building a virtual landscape for surgery In complex surgeries, poor understanding of the patient’s anatomy can lead to preventable complications costing the NHS c£380m/annum and ultimately, threatening patient lives. In close collaboration with innersightlabs, we have developed Innersight3D software which generates interactive virtual 3D models of anatomical structures (e.g. bones, organs, vessels) from standard CT patient scans. The models provide the surgeon with an enhanced understanding of patient anatomy prior to the operation, minimising surgical complications (Bhakhri K. et al. (2021) Frontiers in Surgery 8:652428).