Software, MRI images can noninvasively detect liver disease

Imaging biomarkers, when teamed with magnetic resonance imaging, has the potential to reduce the need for liver biopsies.

Presentations at a national meeting on liver disease say the use of imaging technology could aid in the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a type of a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat builds up in a patient’s liver. With NASH, patients have inflammation and liver cell damage, along with fat in the liver.

The studies, presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, demonstrates the performance of multiparametric MRI imaging in predicting clinical outcomes in liver disease. Research demonstrated further evidence that corrected T1 can predict clinical outcomes in a larger cohort of patients with varying liver disease etiologies.

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Patients underwent multiparametric imaging (T1, T2* mapping (iron) and MR spectroscopy (fat). LiverMultiScan software were used to obtain cT1 maps of the liver and calculate mean values from three areas in the liver. This approach was able to differentiate between all-cause mortality, liver-related mortality and liver event-free survival.

Researchers say that the results from tests showed the approach was as able as histology to predict liver-related outcomes of diseases.

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"Identifying high-risk NASH patients using reliable, cost-effective non-invasive markers is critical for streamlining care pathways, enriching populations for clinical trials and eventually prioritizing patients for approved therapies,” says Jonathan Fallowfield, a professor at the University of Edinburgh. “Multiparametric MRI, combining key phenotypic measurements in a single test, has the potential to fulfill a number of diagnostic purposes."

"Learning how to use non-invasive technology in the evaluation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a really big issue for clinicians,” adds Gideon Hirschfield, a professor from the University of Toronto. “This pooled analysis is therefore of interest because it helps us learn more about the use of multi-parametric MRI, and we can start to see the strengths and weaknesses of the technology.”

The educators contend that this new research bolsters support for cT1 as a biomarker for liver health, for stratification of NASH and for predicting clinical outcomes.

FDA-cleared in the U.S. and CE marked in Europe, LiverMultiScan enables non-invasive and quantitative liver tissue characterization to quickly and consistently quantify liver fat, as well as biomarkers which have been shown to correlate with iron and fibro-inflammation. It is a rapid and scalable technology that can be seamlessly integrated into existing MR examinations, without the need for contrast agent, says Perspectum Diagnostics, which developed the application.

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