Pharmacological MRI (phMRI) of the Human Central Nervous System

H Lanfermann, C Schindler, J Jordan, N Krug, P Raab
Clinical Neuroradiology 2015, 25 Suppl 2: 259-66
Pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI) of the central nervous system (CNS) addresses the increasing demands in the biopharma industry for new methods that can accurately predict, as early as possible, whether novel CNS agents will be effective and safe. Imaging of physiological and molecular-level function can provide a more direct measure of a drug mechanism of action, enabling more predictive measures of drug activity. The availability of phMRI of the nervous system within the professional infrastructure of the Clinical Research Center (CRC) Hannover as proof of concept center ensures that advances in basic science progress swiftly into benefits for patients. Advanced standardized MRI techniques including quantitative MRI, kurtosis determination, functional MRI, and spectroscopic imaging of the entire brain are necessary for phMRI. As a result, MR scanners will evolve into high-precision measuring instruments for assessment of desirable and undesirable effects of drugs as the basic precondition for individually tailored therapy. The CRC's Imaging Unit with high-end large-scale equipment will allow the following unique opportunities: for example, identification of MR-based biomarkers to assess the effect of drugs (surrogate parameters), establishment of normal levels and reference ranges for MRI-based biomarkers, evaluation of the most relevant MRI sequences for drug monitoring in outpatient care. Another very important prerequisite for phMRI is the MHH Core Facility as the scientific and operational study unit of the CRC partner Hannover Medical School. This unit is responsible for the study coordination, conduction, complete study logistics, administration, and application of the quality assurance system based on required industry standards.

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